AMESBURY — It happened in a blink of an eye and yet its effect will linger.
Amesbury Chevrolet sales consultant Steve Buonomo was crossing Route 110 on his way back to work late on the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 17, when he was struck by a 1995 Dodge Neon at the Elm Street intersection.
He suffered numerous injuries, including a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures to his left leg. Buonomo was airlifted to Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital that evening and has not been home since.
According to his mother, Doris Buonomo, while it may have been touch-and-go for a while, the good news is that her son is alive, well and recovering, thanks in no small part to the people of Amesbury who have raised more than $18,000 toward his recovery fund.
“The donations to the GoFundMe and recovery fund, the many prayers and good wishes, and inquiries as to his condition reflect how special the people of Amesbury and the surrounding communities are,” Doris Buonomo said. “This is truly a beautiful story to be told.”
Unresponsive for over a week after the accident, the 64-year-old has been slowly working toward recovery, despite several setbacks, and he has maintained a positive attitude and a sense of humor, his mother said.
Buonomo was moved to Charlestown’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital after he was discharged from Brigham and Women’s, and just last week, he was moved to a Spaulding facility in Cambridge, where he is actively pursuing physical, occupational, speech and music therapy.
Family members have been ferrying Buonomo’s parents from their home in Saco, Maine, to his various hospital and rehabilitation facilities. They hope to move him closer to home in a rehab facility in Haverhill.
“We have managed to visit Steven frequently,” Doris Buonomo said. “We have had a lot of support from the family and his friends have come in to see him. A college friend who lives in Florida was up to visit and he came in to see him when he was at Brigham’s and a friend since they were both in fifth grade donated $1,000 to the GoFundMe campaign.”
While she remains deeply appreciative of the visits from family, friends and her son’s Amesbury Chevrolet coworkers, Doris Buonomo is often rendered speechless when it comes to the response her son’s injury has elicited from all corners of the city. The online fundraising campaign to help with Buonomo’s medial bills and living expenses surpassed its $9,000 goal within a week and now stands at $9,120, while the official Steve Buonomo Recovery Fund managed through the Provident Bank remains open with an additional $9,000 sitting in its coffers so far, $6,000 of which was raised during the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner two days after the accident.
“The community is extraordinary,” Doris Buonomo said. “I want to really thank people for their prayers and contributions. These are people we don’t even know.”
Customers at Amesbury Chevrolet still ask about Buonomo and still contribute to his recovery fund, according to the dealership’s controller Cherri Buchanan.
“He is a topic of conversation everyday,” Buchanan said. “Customers who come in, vendors who come in, it doesn’t matter who they are, they come in and ask for Stevie. He is very well liked. He always has the biggest smile for everyone, so everybody knows who he is and he is thought of all of the time.
“Sometimes the guys will FaceTime him and everybody gets to say ‘hi,’” Buchanan said. “If somebody goes down, they will record him talking to us. That is kind of cool to have. Even though we can’t be there all of the time, we can still communicate back and forth with technology these days. I said that we should do a field trip. I think it makes us all feel better.”
Buchanan added that she intends to organize a fundraiser in the near future.
“(Chamber of Commerce executive director) Kassandra Gove has some ideas, the people at Provident Bank have some ideas,” Buchanan said. “There are a lot of people that would like to help us put that together.”
According to Amesbury police Lt. William Scholtz, the investigation into the accident is still pending and no charges have been filed as of yet.