Community rallies around family after accident
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Willimantic - posted Mon., Aug. 26, 2013
Shortly after the start of the Family Fun Day held on Aug. 24 at the American Legion Little League complex, organizer John Lebiszczak was still hoping to see the guest of honor. “We’re hopeful that she’ll be showing up today,” he said. A few minutes later, Sarah Buskey arrived, walking tentatively but with a smile on her face. Buskey and her 12-year-old son, Joe, were injured on July 3 when a car went out of control in the parking lot of a shopping plaza on Main Street in Willimantic. The car crashed through the window of the Peking House Restaurant, slamming into the booth where the mother and son were having dinner together. Buskey was seriously injured and spent several weeks in the hospital. Her son received less serious injuries.
Joe is a ballplayer with Willimantic Little League, and his friends and coaches wanted to help out. “We’re trying to help them with any expenses they might need,” said Lebiszczak, who is the vice president of the league.
Joe’s aunt, Barbara Walters, is a teacher at Chaplin Elementary School. The co-president of the PTO in Chaplin is a former student of hers. “They reached out and wanted to help,” said Walters. The WSAGW Women’s Willimantic Softball League, for which Walters plays ball, also wanted to help. The three groups collaborated to put together Family Fun Day, which offered a variety of games, a dunking booth, a bouncy house and raffles. An evening showing of “The Sandlot” was planned for the baseball diamond later in the day.
Looking around, Walters said, “I’ve got some of the people I work with here, some of the members of our softball league, as well as friends and family. It’s pretty great how everyone has come together.”
Buskey, who stood with friends while Joe and her older son helped man the dunk tank, said that she was still very much dealing with the effects of the accident, experiencing pain on some days but feeling better on others. She expressed gratitude toward the community. “I feel very privileged,” she said. “I knew I was blessed before with good family and good friends, but this is really something.”