Several opportunities are coming up for the North Polk community to help the Dave and Vicki DeValois family of Polk City.
Dave was in a car accident on June 24 near Boone. He was taken by air ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, where it was determined he had three serious injuries - cranial cervical fracture (separation of the head and neck), aortic dissection and a ruptured left diaphragm. After spending several weeks at Mercy, with numerous surgeries, Dave is now undergoing rehabilitation at a facility in Englewood, Colo., a suburb of Denver. He spends seven hours a day, five days a week in therapy, re-learning how to walk, talk and do daily activities. Vicki said he has made substantial progress during the past four months, but still has a way to go. It typically takes two years to regain lost ground after a traumatic brain injury, she said.
Dave and Vicki have three children: Isaac, 10th grade; Grace, eighth grade; and Josiah, seventh grade. While Vicki and the children were constantly by his side during his stay at Mercy, they have been unable to visit him in Colorado often due to the lack of reliable transportation and the cost of traveling out there. The family is fortunate to have Dave’s sister, Linda, close by the facility, who is able to check in on him often.
The first fundraiser for the family will be a spaghetti supper that will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, at the American Legion in Polk City, 114 W. Broadway St. The meal will be served from 5-8 p.m. The second fundraiser will be held at the North Polk football game on Friday, Oct. 25. Burgers and hot dogs will be served prior to the game. Supplemental funds for each of these events will come from Two Rivers Chapter #31170 of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
Diane Hammond and Wendie Fagen, two friends of the DeValois family, are organizing the fundraisers to help the family with the costs they have incurred.
Hammond and her family witnessed the support of the North Polk community three years ago when she was battling breast cancer. She said organizing the fundraisers is a way to give back to the community who gave so much to her.
"We didn’t cook a meal for four months, so this is my way to pay it forward," Hammond said. "But even if our family had not been on the receiving end of such great support, I would still want to do it for Vicki and Dave and for the kids. They are just great people and that’s what we do - take care of each other in this community."
Fagen used to live next door to the DeValois family and considers herself best friends with Vicki.
"We have been through a lot together, so I didn’t think twice to jump in and help organize these benefits," Fagen said. "It’s the least I could do. Love her like a sister and love her kids as my own."
Since the night of the accident, the community has rallied around the DeValois family to support them. Even before Vicki and the children made it to the hospital after they received word of the accident, a group of 15-20 community members had already gathered at the hospital. Vicki said one time this summer, three people showed up at her house to mow her lawn. Under the encouragement of a friend, Vicki made a "honey-do list" of things that need to be done. This way when people ask her if she needs help with anything, she always has something they can do.
It is the support of family and friends and plenty of prayers that have helped Vicki and her family get through these past four months.
"So many people have surrounded us with love," Vicki said.
"I want to thank everyone in the community. We could never have imagined so many people would walk this journey with us for so long," she went on to say.
For those who cannot attend the benefits, but want to contribute to the DeValois family, an account has been set up at Grinnell State Bank in Polk City, under the name "DeValois Family Benefit."
Community members may follow Dave’s progress on CaringBridge.org. Linda has been updating his page regularly while he is in Colorado.