It was just one of those things. Nine-hundred-and-nine times out of 1,000 this would never happened.
The headline “Car Hits Deer” is so common we rarely even pay attention to it anymore. A couple of column inches or 20 seconds of air-time, or a friend tells you his story of the eight-pointer that jumped out in front of him on County Road 43, crunched the headlight and tore the mirror off his Chevy. Anyone who drives on Champaign, Logan or Shelby county roads is familiar with Odocoileus virginianus, aka the white-tailed deer.
During the morning hours of Oct. 20, Jon Barger had just such an encounter. Driving home from work on County Road 5, he hit a deer. Actually, the deer jumped out and hit Barger’s vehicle, but no matter. He stopped the car and hopped out to inspect the damage, just as hundreds of area motorists do each year. But as he was on the road collecting debris and surveying the damage, he didn’t see the other car coming. The driver of the other car didn’t see Barger. He was struck and thrown, and suffered injuries including a broken pelvis and a compound fracture of the ankle, injuries serious enough that he was flown to OSU Medical Center via MedFlight.
No citations were issued in the accident. Barger, a volunteer firefighter with the DeGraff Fire Department and one test away from being designated as a first responder, was simply in the wrong place at the right time. Just one of those things.
But that argument doesn’t hold water with impersonal medical bills that Barger is receiving as this is being written. Surgeries, hospital and rehab stays, doctor’s fees, medications, and scores of other medical, nursing, and lab services don’t come cheap.
“They’re still coming in the mail every day,” Barger said of his medical bills. “They’re stacking up.”
Barger has health insurance, but it doesn’t begin to pay 100 percent of his medical bills and his out-of-pocket expenses are skyrocketing. He’s hoping that his doctor will allow him return to work soon, at least on a restricted basis, but there is no guarantee that will happen, given the extent of Barger’s injuries.
To that end, the DeGraff Fire Department and Barger’s future in-laws – Leslie and Jerry Frost – have organized a benefit for Barger to help him make a dent on the Denali of medical bills he’s collected over the past three months. He credits the Frosts as the driving force behind making the benefit happen.
“I can’t say enough about them,” Barger said of the Frosts. “They’ve become great friends.”
The benefit takes place on Saturday, Jan. 23 at the Winner Family Farm at 7316 Ohio Route 47, just east of the intersection of Ohio Route 235 in western Logan County. Dinner will include pork sandwiches, baked beans, cole slaw and dinner roll, and will be served from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the cost of $8 per person. Entertainment will be provided by Backdraft Productions DJ and Entertainment Services and a silent auction will be conducted, with all proceeds going to Barger and his family for medical bills and living expenses.
A list of items available for the silent auction include a $100 Ashley Furniture gift certificate, a $200 Anytime Fitness gift certificate, a gun cabinet, and many other items, the list being updated by Leslie Frost on Facebook (search ‘Benefit hog roast for John Barger’ on Facebook) almost daily.
Pre-sale tickets for the benefit are available by calling Leslie Frost at 937.844.2155. Items for the silent auction will be accepted up to the date of the event.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.