It's been almost nine months since Jimmy Ossenfort's car accident, but his family is still dealing with the pain.
Ossenfort, a 22-year old former Farmingdale High School student, was the designated driver for his friends in November 2011 when he crashed his car on the Southern State Parkway after falling asleep at the wheel on his drive home. He is currently in a state of comatosis with minimal responsiveness.
"He will never be the same," said Ossenfort's aunt, Linda Capitano of Farmingdale. "He has suffered such a severe brain injury. He is now in constant need of medical care. He can't function on his own at all. He can't sit up, he can't walk, he can't do anything on his own except for breathe. He will look at us but he doesn't know who are are still. He doesn't remember his childhood or his life. There is a footprint on his brain from the damage from the impact," she said.
With the family's ever surmounting medical bills, local softball league and charity The Over the Hill Gang is stepping in to help, hosting their annual fundraiser for Jimmy in hopes of giving the family some much needed assistance.
"It is a very local charity that we run," said Jim Reilly, president of the Overall the Hill Gang, which has been hosting fundraisers for locals in need for 30 years.
"What we do is we select someone and we try to get someone locally or a friend of somebody and we help them out. In the last few years we raised 10-12,000 a year," he said.
Capitano says she and her family, including Ossenfort's mother, Barbara, and siblings Kerri, 17, Chris, 12 and Timmy, 9, were shocked to be the recipients of this year's fundraiser.
"I'm very emotional about this because I can't believe that they picked him. There are a lot of people with all kinds of special needs and illnesses and the fact that they sought me out to help the family is just so touching and so moving. They're amazing people," she said.
Capitano says she is grateful for the way the community has helped her family in recent months and believes a lot of it has to do in part with Jimmy being such a caring person himself.
"Jimmy would have done anything for anybody. He was just a very good boy, a very good kid. He is one of the loves of my life besides for my own two children. He gave a lot of love and now he is getting a lot of love back," she said.
The fundraiser will take place on Friday, Aug. 3 at Ellsworth Allen Park at 7 p.m. The rain date is Friday, Aug. 10. The event will include refreshments, face painting and live music by solo acoustic guitarist, Jonny Ray. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted.