Com­ing through

Bene t raises more than $7,000 for Southamp­ton garage owner

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW WAGSTAFF AMHERST NEWS an­drew.wagsta @amher­st­news.ca Twit­ter: @ADNan­drew

Scott McKee has al­ways been there for those in need. He didn’t ex­pect to ever be in the po­si­tion where he’d be the one need­ing help.

SOUTHAMP­TON – Scott McKee has al­ways been will­ing to step up and help peo­ple in his com­mu­nity. He never ex­pected to be the one in need.

The long-time Southamp­ton Ser­vice Cen­tre owner re­ceived a trau­matic head in­jury while work­ing on a trac­tor this past sum­mer, an in­jury he is still try­ing to re­cover from. Mean­while, the bills keep com­ing, and the com­mu­nity of­fered him a help­ing hand this past week­end.

“I know what it’s like be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur – di cult and stress­ful,” said Brad Sid­dall, who owns and op­er­ates Ru­n­away Lane Farms up the street. “When you add an in­jury like what hap­pened to Scott to the mix, it’s near im­pos­si­ble.”

It was July 28, and McKee was work­ing at his garage just like any other day. He had been tun­ing up an an­tique trac­tor for one of his cus­tomers, and the trac­tor had a three-point hitch in the rear that could be man­u­ally lifted and low­ered with a large lever. e lever was pow­ered by two large springs.

McKee was look­ing over the back wheel of the trac­tor to see about an­other job he was go­ing to do on it, when he ac­ci­den­tally placed his hand on the lever, and it re­leased.

“It came back and hit me in the head, and the nose piece of my glasses broke a piece out of my nose and shoved it up into my brain,” he said. “It knocked me down and I stood up, blood was com­ing ev­ery­where, and I fell down. When I went to get up the sec­ond time, the lights went foggy, and I fell again… the next thing I re­mem­ber was wak­ing up in Hal­i­fax.”

His wife had been watch­ing from the door­way when he was struck, and she called 911. He was air­lifted to the hospi­tal in Hal­i­fax with a se­vere con­cus­sion.

ree months later, McKee is on the road to re­cov­ery, but far from the end of that road. Due to swelling, the piece of bone from his nose has still not been re­moved from his brain, and doc­tors are hop­ing to be able to re­pair that by Jan­uary. He still suf­fers from seizures, mem­ory loss, and his bal­ance, some­times fall­ing down.

Al­though he can’t work yet, he still dresses the part, and goes to the garage ev­ery­day from his home next door. He wants his cus­tomers to know he is still there. For the first two months, his work­ers would help him walk over, so he would not fall down.

“I thought I had taken all the right moves… I had in­sur­ance,” he said. “Be­cause I’m self-em­ployed, I don’t get worker’s com­pen­sa­tion. But I’ve been ght­ing with the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies, and it hasn’t been good.”

He has watched his busi­ness go from bring­ing in $10-15,000 worth of busi­ness each week to $1,000. Mean­while, one of his two work­ers had a re­cent heart at­tack, and is o work inde nitely.

“My par­ents wanted me to shut the place down, but I said, when I’m bet­ter, all of my cus­tomers will have gone else­where,” said McKee. “I’d rather lose money than lose ev­ery­body.”

His strug­gles did not go un­no­ticed by the com­mu­nity.

“I had been in on a few di er­ent oc­ca­sions and no­ticed that he was not well,” said Sid­dall. “He looked like he needed to rest, but was work­ing to pay the bills. We felt if we could raise him some money to help, even if it only cov­ered the cost of bills for one month, it would give him much needed rest and lower the stress level for him.”

At rst, McKee had re­sisted the idea of a bene t. But when com­mu­nity mem­bers saw him su er one of his seizures rst hand, they told him they were go­ing to do it with or with­out his per­mis­sion.

One by one, they told him how he had helped them out in the past. There was the per­son he gave gaso­line to when they had no money. An­other who couldn’t af­ford their re­pair bill, and he told them they could pay later. Yet an­other whose house had burned down, and he col­lected money for them.

“At ev­ery com­mu­nity event to raise money, Scott is al­ways there help­ing where he can,” said Sid­dall.

With that in mind, he con­tacted lo­cal mu­si­cian Mike Fisher to see if he would play at a ben­e­fit dance. Fisher, one of many who had been helped by McKee in the past, was all too happy to do it. Casey Hamel and Han­nah Sid­dall also agreed to play, and many oth­ers stepped for­ward to ask how they could help.

At the end of the night, more than $7,000 was raised.

McKee, who was not able to at­tend the event be­cause noise and mo­tion can cause seizures for him, said the money would help him keep his shop open. He ex­plained that his ini­tial re­fusal of the help was just a mat­ter of pride.

“It was em­bar­rass­ing at rst, but it’s hum­bling now,” he said. “I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate it.”

It showed Sid­dall how ev­ery­one from all over will come to­gether to help those in need.

“It’s one of the rea­sons I love liv­ing in an area like this one,” he said. “If you are good to the peo­ple, the peo­ple will be good to you.”

AN­DREW WAGSTAFF AMHERST NEWS

Scott McKee is do­ing the best he can to keep his garage busi­ness run­ning in Southamp­ton af­ter sus­tain­ing a trau­matic head in­jury in an ac­ci­dent at the garage this past July. His com­mu­nity held a bene t dance for him on the week­end, rais­ing more than $7,000.

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