Community mobilizes to help after crash leaves man paralyzed

Community mobilizes to help after crash leaves man paralyzed »Play Video
The Zuver family.

GRESHAM, Ore. – A horrific crash has left a Multnomah County maintenance worker facing paralysis. And as his family deals with the devastating news, local horse owners are coming together to help pay their bills.

Friends and co-workers are trying to cover medical and living expenses for John and Clarissa Zuver. John is a maintenance specialist who works out of Gresham. Clarissa is a veterinarian and her extended family in the horse community is hoping to come through for them both.

Right now, Clarissa is by her husband’s hospital bedside in Reno, Nev. That's where John and their 3-year-old son, Jaden, were driving Friday as part of a Thanksgiving road trip when they were in an accident. Jaden was strapped into a car seat in the back and someone avoided serious injury. But John is on a ventilator with no feeling below his chest.

"It changes the way you think about the world," said Dr. Scott Hansen who works with Clarissa. "(It) makes you appreciate every day. It's kind of changed the focus of our practice toward worrying about them."

Hansen owns Columbia Equine Hospital in Gresham where Clarissa has worked as a veterinary doctor the past six years.

Co-workers and clients speak glowingly of her compassion for horses, particularly her volunteer efforts rescuing abused and neglected horses with sound equine options. Now it's her family needing help.

"They've got a house they're going to have to modify if they’re even thinking of staying there," said longtime family friend Rick Paul. "It's a multistory place."

Paul is among the many horse owners in Clackamas County concerned enough to start a fundraising website for the Zuver family with a goal of gathering $20,000 in donations. So far they’re about 20 percent of the way there.

"They have helped so many people themselves. It's just an opportunity that we should not resist," Paul said.

Friends and supporters are planning a dinner and silent auction fundraiser for 6 p.m, Wednesday, November 28, at East Hill Church in Gresham. They're also taking donations for the Zuver family fund at any US Bank.

They've set up a fundraising website: Give Forward: Zuver Family Fund.