Ambulance volunteer injured in crash returns to Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Recovering accident victims Alyssa Rowe, 22, (from right) with her father Ronnie Rowe, and Riverhead volunteer Ambulance Corps president Kim Porkorny at the car wash fundraiser for the Rowe family Saturday afternoon at Chase Bank on Route 58.

The two Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance members who were injured in a July 6 accident in Calverton were present Saturday at a car wash fundraiser their fellow ambulance volunteers set up for them  in Riverhead.

Ron Rowe, the 27-year Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance corps member who was badly injured in the July 6 car accident was released from Stony Brook University Medical Center last Friday, July 13, and was in attendance at the “Rally for Ronnie” car wash fundraiser the corps held for him on Saturday at Chase Bank on Route 58.

Mr. Rowe, a former ambulance chief as well as a member and former president of the ambulance board of directors, was injured along with his 22-year-old daughter, Alyssa,  when the pickup truck they were in crashed into the back of a delivery truck on Middle Country Road in Calverton.

Mr. Rowe had to be extricated from his truck by Riverhead Fire Department volunteers, and he was airlifted to Stony Brook.

Alyssa, who is a lieutenant in the ambulance corps, suffered a leg injury and was taken to Stony Brook by ambulance, where she was treated and released. She is still on crutches and also was at Saturday’s fundraiser with her father.

Mr. Rowe, in a brief interview Friday, said the outpouring of support for him and his daughter since the accident has been more than he could have expected, and that he was very grateful.

“I was floored,” he said.

He currently has his jaw wired shut and is expected to have it wired shut for about three weeks, he said. He had undergone extensive surgery to repair the facial injuries he suffered in the crash, and now he can only eat blended food through a syringe.

He said he doesn’t remember much from the crash, but said “other ambulance members told me I was barking out orders.”

In addition to the car wash, current ambulance board president Kim Pokorny has set up a “Rally for Ronny” website to raise funds for Mr. Rowe.

The site says it has raised $2,995 as of Sunday, with a goal of $10,000.

At the fundraiser, Mr. Rowe told a News-Review reporter: “Its hard to say what it all means to me. You do things in your life because it’s right and you don’t think it gets noticed. I’m really overwhelmed by it all. People are calling me from high school that I haven’t talked to in 20 years. I’ve lived here since the first grade. I think that makes me a native. You don’t realize how many lives you’ve touched.”

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