SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Jon Clarey was riding his moped on Saturday, July 3, when he was struck by an SUV at the intersection of 49th Street and Solberg Avenue in Sioux Falls.
According to Jon’s wife, Caitlin, this crash resulted in two broken vertebrae, multiple broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and a fractured skull. He has been in the hospital since that day, and while his condition is still serious, his loved ones say things have improved.
“Jon makes strides toward recovery every day,” says Caitlin. “We are all patiently awaiting the day we get to see his bright blue eyes again and hear his laugh.”
“The worst things happen to some of the best people.”Caitlin Clarey
Caitlin says that Jon is able to move all of his extremities and can now follow commands, give a thumbs up and hold up fingers on command. He is also able to squeeze her hand. “The biggest struggle now,” she says, “is pain.”
Caitlin says Jon’s doctors are confident that he will make a full recovery, but that it may take a couple of years. “It is a marathon, not a sprint,” she says.
In an effort to aid in that recovery, Jon’s friend and co-worker, Justin Parrott, started a GoFundMe titled “Jon Clarey’s Recovery Fund”. This fundraiser has been set up to raise money for Jon’s medical bills and has so far seen success, clearing its $10,000 goal and continuing to climb.
KELOLAND News spoke with Parrott and some of Jon’s other co-workers about the campaign and what Jon means to them. We will be updating this story with their words later in the day.
“The GoFundMe was started just to kinda help because we weren’t sure exactly how long John was going to end up being in recovery from the accident,” says Parrott. “With the unforeseen medical costs and him having to take time off from work, we just wanted to make sure he was going to be — and his wife Caitlin — was going to be okay financially.”
Lori Armstrong and Tim Behrends both work with Jon and are looking forward to his return. “He’s like the backbone of the workplace,” says Armstrong. “All the customers love him.” Asked what he is looking forward to most in Jon’s return, Behrends was candid. “Just his smile,” he said. He describes Jon as selfless, always willing to help people. “He would give the jacket off his back for you.”
Jamie Sims is another of Jon’s co-workers and close friends. He says it’s been cool to see the outpouring of support for Jon through the GoFundMe. “It’s just been great to see the names on there,” he says “whether it’s friends we haven’t seen in a few years — I’ve seen plenty of customer names on there and some of the donations from people that have put in $500 or $1,000 to help Jon where they didn’t have to, but they care enough about him to do that.”
Sims has known Jon for 15 years. The two have lived together in the past and Jon was his best man at his wedding. He says the thing he looks forward to the most is speaking with his friend again. “Honestly, for me right now I think I’m just looking forward to having a conversation with him again. Being up at the hospital and being able to talk to him, knowing he can hear me but can’t say anything back — this last week is the longest I’ve gone without having a conversation with Jon in 15 years.”