Beloved JV Lacrosse Coach Home for the Holidays
Friends, community hold fundraisers to support Steve Crotty's recovery from head injury.
The mood during Sunday's fundraiser to benefit a Hartland High School lacrosse coach was festive, happy and full of relief — simply because he was there.
"God is great. We feel blessed," said Steve Crotty, a junior varsity coach who was released early after weeks of recovery from a head injury he suffered in a Dec. 4 fall at home that required surgery.
"This is exactly what helps you get through something like this, the love of your friends."
Dozens of supporters attended the event at O'Malley's Irish Pub & Restaurant, 1774 Old US 23. It featured a silent auction with such items as Red Wings tickets and artwork, a 50/50 raffle, a can drive and a sale of Hartland spirit wear. Proceeds from the fundraiser, the second of two this week organized by supporters and friends of the Crotty family, will be going toward medical bills because the family was without full health insurance coverage at the time of the accident.
Wearing a helmet for protection, Crotty was thankful to the community for its support and upbeat about his recovery, joking about the therapists who helped him.
"They would never put me through more than I could handle, but they didn't let me slack, either," Crotty said. "It was ironic; I made the comment one day, 'I'm not used to taking these orders; I'm used to giving them out.'"
Lots of therapy with plans for another surgery
Crotty's return follows weeks of work that included physical, occupational and speech therapy at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. Another surgery is scheduled for next week.
"It's scheduled for the 27th right now to put the piece of skull back in they took out — to give my brain a little more protection," said Crotty, who adds that the pain is comparable to a bad stress headache and is slowly getting better.
Friends lined up to speak with Crotty.
"Steve is a great person," said Jennifer Pankowski of Hartland. "He's someone that, if you're his friend, you're a lucky person."
Challenges bring out the best in the community
Mike Holka, family friend and Hartland varsity boys lacrosse coach, thanked all those who attended to help the Crottys.
"It's a true testament, I think, when something like this happens in our community, you see the outpouring of support for families," he said.
Members of the Hartland Deerfield Fire Authority were at the fundraiser and presented a check to the family from the authority's firefighters association, which raises money and donates to causes in the community.
"This is just a great event and we knew we didn't want to miss this," said Capt. David Wilkin. "We knew what the cause was for and we wanted to make a donation to the Crotty family since we know how important they are to the community."
Sunday's fundraiser followed one Thursday at the Black Rock Bar & Grill, 10100 E. Highland Rd (M-59). It was sponsored by parents involved with Hartland High School athletics, and a portion of proceeds from the entire day was donated to the Steve Crotty Medical Fund, according to restaurant owner Lonny Morganroth.
"We wanted to get involved and help the family out," Morganroth said. "They asked for a banquet hall and we gave them the whole day."
Donations to the Steve Crotty Medical Fund are being accepted at LOC Federal Credit Union, 10002 Highland Rd. In addition, a Jan. 8 communitywide bottle drive is planned.
"It's like Humpty Dumpty," said family friend Nancy Holka, "putting the pieces back together again."