It's Our Turn to Help a Brother Out!

My brother, Tommy "Wrench" Gilbert, was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Sunday, 10/20/13, about 12:30 pm as he and his wife were coming back from Nationals with his MC, the Boozefighters. Tommy was driving his Harley, and Melinda was driving their truck and trailer behind him. They were less than 10 miles from their house, when an unlicensed driver decided to jump out to cross highway 105 to beat traffic. Tommy attempted to change lanes to avoid him, thinking he was going to turn in the direction they were traveling. Melinda, watching the entire thing unfold in slow motion like a nightmare, saw the van barreling towards her husband, her world, her everything. She attempted to speed up to ram the van before he hit Tommy. Time was not on her side. The driver hit Tommy, causing him to land on the van. After only a second or two, the coward that drove that van decided to run, sending our brother flying through the air, landing 40 to 50 feet from the original point of impact.

My brother was transported via life flight, fighting for his life. Within the hour, Tommy's family, both by blood and by bond, were anxiously waiting in the ER for word that he would be okay. His right leg was broken in 3 places, one break piercing the skin and causing him to nearly bleed to death. God surely protected our brother. After the bleeding was stopped, a scan showed no head injuries, minimal internal injuries, and an inconsequential spinal fracture.

Tommy's, Wrench's, right leg did not fare as well. Though the doctors tried, they were unable to save it. On Tuesday morning, 10/22/13, Tommy underwent surgery to amputate his right leg just under the knee. Tommy will need to undergo another surgery on 10/24/13 to repair the femur in his right leg. Then he will be monitored for infection. After that, Tommy now has an unknown amount of rehabilitation, healing, and coping to do. All because one guy was in a hurry to cross a highway, and made the decision to run, more than likely causing the majority of the damage to Tommy's body.

The driver was caught, due to his license plate being found at the scene of the crime. He stated he ran because he was worried he would be deported because he is here illegally.

Adding to the unimaginable tragedy that unfolded that day is the fact that Tommy was laid off work the week prior. So now, with no income and health insurance about to expire, Tommy, aka Wrench, is in a place that he never deserved to be. Tommy belongs to Boozefighter's Motorcycle Club, a nonprofit organization that raises money to help vets, children, and the poor. And, as I have learned over the last few days, an organization that has an incredibly deep bond. Tommy and Melinda have always been involved in charitable events, including programs where they volunteered to take kids on motorcycle rides in the school parking lot, adopting a kid at Christmas to be their secret Santa, and benefits to raise money for fallen brothers. Most recently, Tommy and Melinda helped raise money for our nephew with MD to visit Lourdes, France - literally a trip of a lifetime.

Now, it's time we help our brother out. He has most likely helped us all at one time or another. And if he hasn't had the chance yet, he undoubtedly will when given the opportunity. Anything you can donate to this cause is greatly appreciated. And if you have nothing to give, at least leave a prayer for him please. God knows, we are surely blessed to have him - broken, but NOT defeated.
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Regina Kessler 
Cleveland, TX
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