Community generosity; Hundreds back local man at benefit lunch on the Square
Tim Richmond stood quietly, graciously accepting the generosity and well-wishes of friends, family and community members as hundreds of people filed by, purchasing a lunch of burgers, chips and beverages -- the proceeds from which will go to the Richmond family to help with expenses as he recovers from a catastrophic bicycle accident.
On July 1, Richmond was cycling with a friend in the Rolling Acres subdivision and collided head-on with the other cyclist. The crash broke "every bone in my face, except my jaw," Richmond said.
A string of reconstructive surgeries followed. A tracheotomy was performed. The remaining apparatus will soon be removed and a plate supporting the roof of his mouth also will be removed; doctors expect that will be healed enough to do so soon, but an X-ray can't be performed to determine that for sure, because of the metal apparatus.
Five titanium plates surrounding his left eye socket, on his cheek and alongside his nose are permanent.
A manager at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Harrisonville, husband of Leva and father of three daughters, Haiden, Hunter and Halle, Richmond's glad his employer has been understanding, "Luckily, they're pretty good about stuff like this," he said.
Appreciative of the effort surrounding him, Richmond said, "It's kind of hard to swallow your pride and accept something like this. It's nice. I didn't realize I knew so many people. I'm usually on the other side," taking part in a benefit for someone else.
Looking around, Richmond said, "We've been involved with the Neptunes all our lives. That's where a lot of these people are from."
Now the tables are turned, and the Nevada Neptunes, a swim team organization Richmond's been a part of for years, are more than pleased to be able to do something for their comrade.
Neptunes President Myles Miller was busily grilling burgers at noon, and the effort had already more tripled its goal with an hour and a half yet to go.
Glancing at the long line of customers still waiting, Miller said, "We thought we would sell maybe 200 to 300 burgers. We've done 600 so far." He flipped a half-dozen burgers as he said the words, other patties on the loaded grill weren't quite ready yet. "He's been a part of the Neptunes for a long time, and it's time we supported him, back," Miller said.
In the end, about 700 burgers were sold. "It just shows what a community can do when we come together. And it says a lot about the (Richmond) family," Miller said.
Most of the food and other items were donated by Neptunes' parents, but contributions of supplies and other items were made by several local businesses, including Heritage State Bank, Sonic, Wal-Mart, Daylight Donuts and Missouri Eagle.
Doctors had indicated "we're lucky to have him," Miller said, noting that often people with such extensive injuries don't survive.
Told that community members are glad he's still among them, Richmond nodded. "Thank God," he said.