Help Larry Smith Accident Recovery

$25,850 of $30k goal

Raised by 485 people in 19 months
Marcia Kelly Illingworth
on behalf of Sally Kobee
 POWELL, TN
On Sept 8, 2015, while returning from Dragoncon in Atlanta to home in Columbus, Ohio, Larry Smith of Larry Smith Books, along with family friend Joni Dashoff, had a rollover accident in the book-laden van on Interstate 75, at the Niota exit in Tennessee. Joni was apparently unscathed. Larry was not so lucky. After some gentle persuasion he was taken to Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville. After assessment there, he was transferred to University of Tennessee Hospital for admission. That's the part that everyone knows.



Larry and his wife, Sally Kobee do not engage in the whole social media scene. Since Sally was using our house as a base of operations while Larry was hospitalized, I did my best to keep everyone updated on Facebook, and through other avenues. Many people sent goid wishes and offers of assistance. At that time, they were of the opinion that insurance would cover the losses. That's what you have it for, after all.

Well now, reality is setting in. Larry is back at home, but will be feeling pretty rough for awhile. The insurance company have advised them what they will pay for the totalled van. It is nowhere near what it will take to replace the van. They will also only pay for a limited amount on a rental vehicle until they get it replaced. We don't know about what they will cover for the loss of books. They are still going through them to determine how many are still saleable.

Many folks have asked how they could help. Larry and Sally have been selling books at conventions for 25 years, and never had anything like this happen. They are fannish family. Now we can all help them. Please give generously. We don't know how much they will end up needing, but GoFundMe asks for a target, so I picked one out of thin air. There will be a full accounting, and any surplus will go to a recognized charity. They have authorized me to set up this page on their behalf. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.
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Update 4
Posted by Marcia Kelly Illingworth
18 months ago
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Please forgive the lack of recent updates. As they say, no news is good news. Larry is back out of the hospital, and appears to be doing well. He was finally able to attend a convention last weekend, and held up remarkably well. At this point, he is hoping to make all of his November commitments. Clearly, he is not exactly on top of his game, and has had to make some adjustments to his activity level and routine, but he is improving.

Larry and Sally asked me to try to convey the enormous gratitude they feel to everyone who has come to their aid through this very trying time. I say *try* to convey, because there just are not enough words to adequately express how thankful and humbled they feel. And let me just add my thanks as well. These are some very special people, and my heart swells when I see this wonderful family that we call fandom come together to help them like you have.

They are currently still trying to find a replacement van. The one they had was a 15 passenger model, with a long wheelbase and extra suspension to handle the weight of the books. They have found a couple of possibilities (of course, none local), so they hope to find one soon. Give yourselves a much - deserved pat on the back for making this possible for them. Please share this update on any list or social media that you have available to you.
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Update 3
Posted by Marcia Kelly Illingworth
19 months ago
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2
2
Well, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, and most importantly, fans and writers of all ages, much has happened since the last update. First, let me apologize for not updating for over a week now. I had to fly to Wyoming with best friend/sister, Joann Cavitt Parsons, to retrieve my own van, which had an unfortunate encounter with a deer on the way home from Sasquan. It took three weeks, but it's mostly all better now. I should be back in Tennessee tomorrow night (Thursday).

As for the really important stuff, Larry has had some complications since returning home, which have put him back in the hospital. When I spoke with Sally this afternoon, she was trying to make the decision as to whether she would be able to attend Archon this weekend. Yes, he's that sick.

The good news is that they didn't lose a whole lot of books. There are advantages to packing very tightly. However now, in addition to medical expenses on top of trying to find a new van, they are having to look at serious interruption of income, and all of the issues that brings. Many of you have suggested raising the target, so that's what we are doing.

It is heartwarming and humbling to see how many people have dug deeply into their pockets to help Larry and Sally recover from this very major setback. There just are not enough adequate words to express the gratitude we all feel. I hope that you can find it in your hearts and pockets to help reach the new goal, and please, if it is your way of things, keep them in prayer, light candles, burn incense, or whatever it takes to send them some help from higher powers as well.

Please share this update via any means at your disposal. Thank you.
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Update 2
Posted by Marcia Kelly Illingworth
19 months ago
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2
WOW!!! You guys rock! Less than eight hours, and already 3/4 of the way to our initial goal. In reading the comments, it appears that you are in favor of replacing the van with a new one, which you pointed out would be a bit more expensive. I think that we can do it! What do you guys think?
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Update 1
Posted by Marcia Kelly Illingworth
19 months ago
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1
1
I was a firefighter/paramedic for 15 years in my past life. Two factors saved lives in this accident. First, seat belts. Joni said it was really interesting hanging upside down when the van came to rest. The alternatives without them - well, let's just say that we wouldn't have been able to share those pictures.

Second, that very utilitarian grid stored behind the seats. A lot of us use it in our displays. Larry and Sally also use it to create a "safety cage", intended to keep things from flying forward in case of sudden stops. In this case, it probably also kept the roof from collapsing when the van rolled over.

More to follow.
The life-saving grid
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Read a Previous Update
Elaine Bushore Fisher
19 months ago
6
6

When evaluating the damaged books, they should set aside the ones that are still readable for "scratch and dent" sale. I'm sure some people would be willing to pay a reduced cost for a less-than-pristine book as long as all the pages are still there.

+ Read More
John Pomeranz
19 months ago
2
2

Marcia, you should increase the goal, setting it at least high enough that, with the anticipated insurance payout, Larry and Sally can get a new van. A couple of tax points. Seth's right on the tax liability question, provided (1) GoFundMe passes along the funds as gifts from the original donors (i.e. it's merely acting as our agent and the funds aren't treated as a gift from GoFundMe instead of us), and (2) the gifts are given to Larry and Sally equally (because each of them has a 2015 gift tax exclusion of $14,000, so you need both to get to $28,000). Also, with regard to any excess funds going to charity, remember that it's Larry and Sally who'll be able to claim the charitable deduction on any such funds, not any of us. As far as I'm concerned, whatever we give is theirs to do with as they wish, and they shouldn't feel obliged to give any of it to charity. I'm sure that the cost of the new van isn't the only extra expense they're going to bear as a result of the accident... uninsured damages to inventory and displays; lost income from cons they can't attend while pulling themselves back together; unexpected travel and shipping costs related to the accident; and, of course, uninsured aspects of Larry's medical care.

+ Read More
Jason Miller
19 months ago
1
1

Insurance companies will try to pay people less then something is worth but what you do is you refuse their first offer and tell them you can't replace it for what you were given and send them print out of vans in as good of shape as yours and mileage and year of what the going price is. I did that and got more out of my ford ranger when it was totaled.

+ Read More
Heidi Reckel
19 months ago
1
1

Replacing the van with a new model is a good thing - better gas mileage, new warranty means if something breaks, it's covered. Also, longer life on the vehicle for as much driving as they do. Dealers are at model year change out time and thus, *very* eager to make deals on previous model year inventory so they can have room for new inventory arriving.

+ Read More
Tina Connell
19 months ago
1
1

Will they have to pay income tax on donations? if so, before you give any excess to a charity, please take that into account.

+ Read More
Thomas Wicklund
19 months ago

On gift taxes, my understanding is the giver is responsible for gift taxes, and only if they give more than the limit ($14,000) to Larry. Larry and Sally aren't subject to gift tax when receiving gifts.

+ Read More
Daniel T. Anders
19 months ago

Im glad your having luck. Ive gotten 0 donations so far for a very similiar situation. I wish you the best of luck, and i hope you get all the help you need. Maybe someone whos willing to help you may help me too. Speedy recovery.

+ Read More
Seth Breidbart
19 months ago

There are no income tax issues unless an individual donation exceeds $28,000 ($56,000 if the donor is married).

+ Read More
Tim Illingworth
19 months ago

Marcia says "Thanks for that! We will be consulting our tax lawyer in the morning."

+ Read More

$25,850 of $30k goal

Raised by 485 people in 19 months
Created September 17, 2015
Marcia Kelly Illingworth  
on behalf of Sally Kobee
$74
Anonymous
16 months ago
BF
$1,000
Bill Feero
18 months ago

Get well soon.

MR
$100
mark roth
18 months ago
$50
Anonymous
18 months ago
$50
Anonymous
18 months ago
LW
$50
Lew Wolkoff
18 months ago

Get well soon, Larry, and I hope to see you at Philcon. Lew Wolkoff

$50
Anonymous
18 months ago
JB
$25
Judith Berman
18 months ago
$75
Anonymous
18 months ago
$100
Anonymous
18 months ago
Elaine Bushore Fisher
19 months ago
6
6

When evaluating the damaged books, they should set aside the ones that are still readable for "scratch and dent" sale. I'm sure some people would be willing to pay a reduced cost for a less-than-pristine book as long as all the pages are still there.

+ Read More
John Pomeranz
19 months ago
2
2

Marcia, you should increase the goal, setting it at least high enough that, with the anticipated insurance payout, Larry and Sally can get a new van. A couple of tax points. Seth's right on the tax liability question, provided (1) GoFundMe passes along the funds as gifts from the original donors (i.e. it's merely acting as our agent and the funds aren't treated as a gift from GoFundMe instead of us), and (2) the gifts are given to Larry and Sally equally (because each of them has a 2015 gift tax exclusion of $14,000, so you need both to get to $28,000). Also, with regard to any excess funds going to charity, remember that it's Larry and Sally who'll be able to claim the charitable deduction on any such funds, not any of us. As far as I'm concerned, whatever we give is theirs to do with as they wish, and they shouldn't feel obliged to give any of it to charity. I'm sure that the cost of the new van isn't the only extra expense they're going to bear as a result of the accident... uninsured damages to inventory and displays; lost income from cons they can't attend while pulling themselves back together; unexpected travel and shipping costs related to the accident; and, of course, uninsured aspects of Larry's medical care.

+ Read More
Jason Miller
19 months ago
1
1

Insurance companies will try to pay people less then something is worth but what you do is you refuse their first offer and tell them you can't replace it for what you were given and send them print out of vans in as good of shape as yours and mileage and year of what the going price is. I did that and got more out of my ford ranger when it was totaled.

+ Read More
Heidi Reckel
19 months ago
1
1

Replacing the van with a new model is a good thing - better gas mileage, new warranty means if something breaks, it's covered. Also, longer life on the vehicle for as much driving as they do. Dealers are at model year change out time and thus, *very* eager to make deals on previous model year inventory so they can have room for new inventory arriving.

+ Read More
Tina Connell
19 months ago
1
1

Will they have to pay income tax on donations? if so, before you give any excess to a charity, please take that into account.

+ Read More
Thomas Wicklund
19 months ago

On gift taxes, my understanding is the giver is responsible for gift taxes, and only if they give more than the limit ($14,000) to Larry. Larry and Sally aren't subject to gift tax when receiving gifts.

+ Read More
Daniel T. Anders
19 months ago

Im glad your having luck. Ive gotten 0 donations so far for a very similiar situation. I wish you the best of luck, and i hope you get all the help you need. Maybe someone whos willing to help you may help me too. Speedy recovery.

+ Read More
Seth Breidbart
19 months ago

There are no income tax issues unless an individual donation exceeds $28,000 ($56,000 if the donor is married).

+ Read More
Tim Illingworth
19 months ago

Marcia says "Thanks for that! We will be consulting our tax lawyer in the morning."

+ Read More
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