When the dust and debris settled following the horrific crash of September 16, Larry was barely conscious. Injuries included: a severed right hand, crushed right leg and foot, fractured skull, torn tendons and ligaments in the left arm and hand and extensive shrapnel wounds. His spirit, and desire to live, remained firmly intact.
I stopped by Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center on Saturday, October 8 to pay a visit to Larry. Tracy, his wife (and co-owner of Wings West Governor Exchange and Overhaul) was just about to leave for home. She’d been there since early that morning and needed to get home to look after their 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. She’d return on Sunday (their 28th wedding anniversary).
A King Air 90 medi-vac brought Larry to Seattle from Reno’s St. Mary’s Hospital on September 29. While he’s healing well, doctors have told him he may yet lose his right leg above the knee. The skin grafting has contracted an infection that doctors are trying to contain. Time will tell.
“What do you think?” I asked Larry. “I think I’m gonna be in Reno next September smoking a cigar, drinking a margarita and watching the races.” He also told me to point out that Think Kindness (a northern Nevada non-profit) has started a fund for victims and family members.
“What can I do to help?” was my next question. “Tell them how important the races are to the aviation community. Tell them the races must go on. They bring $80 million to Reno each year. This is a big deal for the city, plus its a helluva lot of fun. This was flat out an accident, nothing more.”
“What about your business Larry?” Without hesitation, he said, “we’ll continue. It’s just Tracy and I (with some part-time office help), but we’ll make it work. The best thing that could happen is a bunch of people send governors in need of overhaul that don’t need them tomorrow. We’ll work with them, if they’ll work with us.” You can reach Tracy at (800) 557-3188.
Larry’s spirit is infectious. In fact, I left the hospital shaking my head thinking two things: Come September 2012 Reno will see a crush of people like never before, and Larry will be there, smoking a cigar, drinking a margarita and cheering them on.
Remember: Fly Low, Fly Fast, Turn Left! Stay tuned, this story isn’t over yet.