Hand-in-Hand Chief Don Boyer and his wife Melanie and family were used to being on the helping side of life. But that changed in the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 24, 2020, when son Jason was seriously injured in a vehicle collision on his way to work. As Fire Chief, Don responded to the nearby call and to his great dismay, discovered that it was his son Jason who was involved in the accident.
With seven hours of surgery and a week-long stay at Lancaster General Hospital, Jason was transferred to Penn State Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Hershey. There he spent the next weeks from September 1 – October 23 in intensive therapy for shattered vertebrae.
The Boyer family has always had strong connections to the Fire Company. Because Don grew up a stone’s throw from the station, the Fire Company and its members have had a big impact on his life. Don joined at an early age and received his 25-year award in 2016. Today he is the Fire Chief. Son Jason followed his father’s example, became a Junior Firefighter at age 14, and was training as an EMT.
Since Jason is one of the Fire Company’s own, the members wanted to host a benefit meal for him. On Saturday, October 24, the Fire Company held one of their famous chicken barbecues, something they certainly know how to do well! With donation boxes and lots of drive-thru meals, they raised $20,000 to help with Jason’s medical bills.
When it became evident that the Boyers’ home would need to be modified to meet Jason’s needs when he returned home, the Fire Company came through again. They put together a committee from the community to oversee and coordinate the effort: Jake King, Fire Company representative; Manny Flaud Jr., construction contractor; and Elmer Stoltzfus, a former Fire Company treasurer and business owner who was also a victim of an accident.
This committee walked the Boyer family through the planning, drawings, and permits for an addition to their home that met the latest accessibility standards. With everyone working together (oversight committee, building committee, family, township, contractors, and community volunteers), the result is a large bedroom, bath, and living space that has its own outside entrance and connects to the main house through an enclosed breezeway.
Jason came home from rehab on October 23 and has adapted well to his new surroundings. He brings his outgoing and upbeat personality to the fire station where he enjoys spending time with his firefighter friends.
As a result of two recent needs in our community – Jason’s accident and an extensive missing person search – the Fire Company has established a Bird-in-Hand Community Fund at the Bank of Bird-in-Hand. This permanent and separate non-profit account is solely funded by donations from the community. The Fire Company will administer the monies, which are to be used for individuals and families in our area who experience emergencies.