CIRCLEVILLE — In the early morning hours of June 27, a call regarding an impaired driver changed the life of Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Phillips, and rallied a community together to support the 2015 Teays Valley graduate.
More than two months after being critically injured in a wrong-way crash caused by the vehicle he was dispatched to locate, Trooper Phillips has taken his first steps, according to the Ohio Going Blue Facebook page.
“From his mom,” the post said. “Tears of joy today, my son Trooper Jason Phillips took some steps today! He pushed himself to take more steps until he backed the physical therapist person into the wall on the other side of the room! I cried seeing my son being able to start to walk again after he was fighting for his life almost three months ago and hasn’t been able to walk since then. Oh how good is God! Thank you Lord for giving me the joy of not only seeing my son live but to start walking again! Another miracle today!”
Now, his community stands ready to help his family to recover. Evelyn Rawlins, a member of the Biker’s Ministry of South Bloomfield, has helped organize an event that has taken off in ways she never imagined.
“Our church has a biker ministry,” Rawlins explained. “One of the couples has a son who is a schoolmate and good friend of Jason’s. He came to his mom to see if we could help with whatever is needed.”
While medical bills aren’t a concern for the Phillips family, everyday expenses can be.
“His parents have taken off work,” Rawlins said. “His dad has gone back, but his mom is still at home. One hundred percent of this money is going to help his family with bills, or whatever they need.”
The fundraiser will take place on Saturday, Sept. 28, and will consist of a spaghetti dinner, with spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread, and various desserts on the menu. In addition, a Chinese raffle, 50/50 raffle, and poker run will take place to raise addition funds.
“The community has responded really well,” Rawlins added. “There are approximately 370 motorcycles set for the poker run, and we’re expecting anywhere from 1,000-1,500 people for the dinner.”
Without the community’s involvement, none of this would be possible.
“Stores have donated water and tea, Olive Garden of Grove City has donated salad and bread, people have donated the spaghetti and baked goods,” Rawlins listed.
But the fundraiser is still lacking one essential item — paper products.
“We need napkins, plates, cups, things like that,” Rawlins explained. “I haven’t got a clue on paper products.”
The events will run from 12 to 7 p.m., and will include Travis Young DJ-ing from 12-4, and live music by the Kingston Blues Band from 5-7. The poker run will take place from Doughboyz Pizza in Commercial Point and end at the VFW, where the main events are taking place.
“We’re hoping for a good turn out,” Rawlins commented. “His parents plan on bringing him. He still has a long road. We’re just hoping that things turn out well.”
Trooper Phillips’ family has been overwhelmed by the support, which has gone statewide, Rawlins explained.
“The Ohio State Highway Patrol put the word out statewide,” Rawlins continued. “And the Sheriff’s Office put the word out. South Bloomfield’s Police Chief plans a sign of 23, and will escort the motorcycles. They’re just overwhelmed, and beyond belief that we pulled his together this quickly, and the community’s come together like it has.”
Rawlins is confident that the night will be a success.
“We’ve only been working on this for the past month,” Rawlins explained. “We’re still looking for donations. The less we have to buy, the more goes in the family’s pocket. The VFW donated their building for the night, and we’re overwhelmed with the response.”
Rawlins said the event is still accepting donations for everything from food, to auction items, to paper products.
“We won’t turn away a single fork,” Rawlins laughed. “We’re not turning anything down. We’re expecting the 1,000-1,500, but you never know if you might get 600-800 more.”
Some of the items donated for the night include a Jack Pine pumpkin, and potentially televisions, Rawlins said.
The poker run begins registration and breakfast at 9 a.m., with kickstands up at 11 a.m. The route includes Oak Grove Tavern and Circleville AMVETS before finishing out at the South Bloomfield VFW. Tickets to the spaghetti dinner are also available for a fee. To donate items for the dinner, please contact Evelyn Rawlins at 614-206-8467.