At the ready: Forest Park firefighters are raising funds for a car crash vistim.

When Forest Park firefighters arrived at the scene of a car accident on Madison Street near Doc Ryan’s in March, the victim’s chances looked bleak.

“I was told by the crews the next morning of how bad the accident was,” recalled firefighter Travis Myers, who serves as Forest Park Firefighters Local 2753 union’s  de facto spokesperson. “The guys that responded to the call said it was gruesome and they didn’t expect him to live.”

But the man, whom the union is only identifying by his first name, Ryan, not only lived, but he is currently going through rehabilitation. Even though the firefighters didn’t know him before the accident, they have been keeping track of his progress and offered support. 

Now, the union has teamed up with the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce to put on a Standing with Ryan fundraiser on June 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Shanahan’s bar, 7353 Madison St. Myers said they wanted to do something to support Ryan and his family, and to celebrate Ryan’s resilience as he goes through a difficult recovery.

Myers said that Ryan went to Doc Ryan’s to meet up with his friends. As he got out to go inside the bar, another car veered off Madison Street and struck him. 

“When our crew showed up, he had sustained life threatening injuries and upon our arrival he was bleeding out,” Myers said.

The injuries were so severe, he said, that every second counted. The firefighters “responded with razor sharp focus” and got Ryan to the hospital.

“Ryan underwent over 10 surgeries,” Myers said. “I believe the most gruesome and I’m assuming the most difficult was surgically reattaching his left foot and the calf muscle.”

Ryan has a wife and a son. Since the accident, the firefighters visited Ryan and his family several times to support them.

Ryan has recovered enough to be able to start therapy, but Myers said that rehabilitation was anything but easy. 

“Ryan keeps on fighting on, though, which is what this benefit is about,” he said. “When someone’s life is abruptly altered to this extent it’s the human spirit and its ability to triumph against all odds that we as a union want to celebrate.”

Since the union announced the fundraiser, several local businesses contributed gift cards and other raffle prizes, and Myers said some businesses also made direct cash donations. The tickets for the raffle are $50, and residents are encouraged to make donations whether they attend or not.  

“This event is to highlight Ryan’s strength — mental and physical strength,” Myers said. “I’m so proud to work with the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor (Rory) Hoskins in this event.  To me it really highlights the strength of the relationship between the village and the business community.  To see so many people and entities step forward demonstrates our resounding sense of community”