The South Fork community continues to rally around Jeffrey Yusko, a longtime Wainscott resident and former East Hampton High School gym teacher who was hit by a van while riding his bicycle in Sagaponack on May 5.
Mr. Yusko suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident, although he was wearing a bike helmet at the time. He was kept in a medically induced coma for six weeks. Since then, Mr. Yusko's eyes have opened and he has been "awake and alert" for a few hours a day, said one of his sons, Tyler Yusko, by phone last week. He keeps his father company most days at the Kessler Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey, which has been treating him since early July.
Mr. Yusko's wife, Kelly Yusko, teaches at the Wainscott School, and Mr. Yusko has worked for many years at P.C. Richard and Sons. To support the Yusko family, there will be a fund-raiser Friday evening at the Clubhouse on Daniel's Hole Road in Wainscott from 6 to 9. Admission is $40 per person or $75 per couple, and includes food and live music; there will also be a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, and a cash bar.
Mr. Yusko, 63, was riding his bike on Montauk Highway in the vicinity of the Townline BBQ restaurant when he was struck from behind by a van traveling westbound. According to Tyler Yusko, he was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital with bleeding in his brain, a broken sternum, multiple broken ribs, and an orbital eye fracture.
Although the bleeding was soon stopped and the broken bones are healing, Mr. Yusko still has a long road to recovery, his son said.
"There's no correspondence yet — no talking yet — and he still has a feeding tube," Tyler Yusko, the eldest of the Yusko children, said. "It's a very unfortunate situation. There are good days and bad days for sure. . . . It's not easy, but we're hoping for the best."
The Yuskos are hoping for a homecoming within the next three to five weeks and are renovating the family house in Wainscott to make it wheelchair-accessible. Other anticipated expenses include medical supplies and a specially equipped van. Meanwhile, they are searching for registered nurses to provide at-home services, although they have not yet had much luck, Tyler Yusko said.
"We're grateful for the outpouring of support. The town has been really great," he said. "We have to hope that a little bit of a miracle happens."
Friends and community members can follow Jeff Yusko's journey on Instagram at @prayersforjeff and on GoFundMe by searching "Pray for Jeffrey."