HANSON — Saturday, July 9 marked their fifth wedding anniversary, and despite the broken bones and bruises from a recent motorcycle crash, they were celebrating the gift of life.
Dave and Heather Hanlon of Hanson face a long road of recovery following a motorcycle crash six weeks ago.
Friends of the couple are planning a benefit from 1-6 p.m., Sunday, July 31 at the Hanson Athletic Association pavilion, 171 Reed St., Hanson to aid in financial burdens as they recoup. The event will be held rain or shine.
Their lives were turned upside down while they were stopped in traffic waiting for a left turn on South Meadow Road in Plymouth May 28. They were hit from behind by a car reportedly traveling 40 m.p.h. The driver never hit the brakes before pushing the couple into the car in front of them.
The experienced riders often took an open air spin on a pleasant day — a passion and hobby, which they now have had taken away, said Hanlon.
The Harley Davidson Heritage soft tail they were riding was turned into a heap of metal at the crash scene.
“Heather saw the car coming behind us in the side mirror and said, ‘Oh (expletive)”, said Hanlon.
Moments later Dave was lying on the opposite side of the road in the lane of oncoming traffic. He was bleeding heavily from his head, ejected off the bike and landing 35 feet from Heather who had stayed on the bike. She fractured her pelvis in three places, among numerous other injuries.
Hanlon has lived in town for 46 years and has worked for the Hanson Highway Department for the past 19 years and is also currently the Hanson Tree Warden for the next three years. He is also a former call firefighter.
Heather is originally from Freetown and has called Hanson home for approximately 10 years. The couple has five children between them, two are in their 20s.
Hanlon’s eldest daughter Stephanie, 24, is a nurse and lives in Hanson. Courtney, 20, is stationed in Hawaii in the Army. Her planned leave to come home was the day of their bike accident.
“My first visit with her was at the hospital. She came up to see us there,” said Hanlon, his voice reflected disappointment that her holiday was marred by negative circumstances.
Things have been in disarray but the pair is making the best of their circumstances. He will be seeing an orthopedist for his healing broken elbow. For now he is caring for his wife. She has a visiting nurse, occupational and physical therapist making visits to the house.
A difficult part of Heather’s healing is the immobility. Her reconstruction included screws, wires and plates to rebuild her pelvis. She is now in a wheelchair restricted to sitting or lying in bed non-weight bearing position for the next three months. However, the once active bowler and avid rider were not promised a full recovery.
Taking the healing one step at a time Heather is hopeful she will not have further complications. They look forward to their walks again in the Burrage Wildlife area behind their home.
With caring friends and fellow American Legion riders they are also members at the Hanson Athletic Association. Hanlon who has 30 years’ experience riding expressed appreciation of all who have reached out to assist them in the last weeks.
The accident, by chance, happened in front of a house where there were fellow motorcycle riders. After hearing the crash they raced to assist until first responders arrived.
“The people were great. They held Heather’s head in place to keep her still … a man gave me a T-shirt and held it to my head, “said Hanlon.
The upcoming benefit, which Hanlon said he is humbled by, was a gesture by local friends, members at the Hanson AA and fellow riders who have helped the couple stay positive and optimistic.
The organizers of the benefit hope to offset medical expenses for the pair following stays at the trauma center at the South Shore Hospital where he stayed for two nights. Heather was transported to Boston to Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she had surgery on June 1, remaining there until June 8 when she was moved to Braintree Rehabilitation. After rehabbing she arrived home on June 16.
Seeing her in pain has not been easy, he said.
“We can’t enjoy our walks, we can no longer enjoy the motorcycle. That has been taken away from us. She says she will never get on another motorcycle because of the accident,” he said.
The couple has laid tracks all over the New England states and most of Cape Cod. Two of their favorite places are Laconia, N.H and Newport, R.I.
Riding in the car provokes anxiety because the last thing she saw was the bike coming up behind them, he said.