ROXBURY, NJ – “Street Rod” buffs and motorcyclists gathered in Succasunna on Tuesday to welcome, and raise money for, Chris Schmidt, a Roxbury man whose foot was amputated last month due to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
They converged at the Roxbury Mall where the North Jersey Street Rod Association (NJSRA) held a special installment of its weekly “Sunset Cruse” car gathering. The get-together was added to the club’s calendar as a fundraiser for Schmidt, who serves as a DJ at many NJSRA events.
An unprecedented number of car owners rumbled into the mall parking lot, lining up well beyond the usual area, to be a part of the event. “We’re pushing it,” said NJSRA President Tom Harvey, referring to the number of shiny hot-rods that were filling more parking places than normally allowed by the mall’s owner. “But tonight’s the last night, so what are they going to say?”
Schmidt, of Kenvil, works for the Roxbury Department of Public Works (DPW). His boss, Roxbury DPW Director Richard Blood, was among the people attending the event. Schmidt's motorcycling friends were escorted to the car show by Roxbury police while well-wishers lined-up to talk to the 41-year-old, who joked about his misfortune between accepting hugs.
He told them he expects to be fitted with a prosthetic limb in October and hopes to be walking by November.
Harvey said about $2,500 was raised at the car show for Schmidt and his family. A GoFundMe site created by Claudia Clifford and Amanda Treier, friends of Schmidt and his wife, Kari, has raised $10,750 as of Tuesday.
Schmidt’s foot was severely damaged when it was hit by an oncoming car that crossed the center line of a road in Chester where Schmidt was riding his Harley-Davidson on Aug. 23. Schmidt said the driver of the Infiniti came so far into his lane he had nowhere to go, but he noted he somehow kept the bike upright after being clipped by the vehicle.
In thanking everybody, Schmidt vowed he would not let the accident define his life. However, he said he does plan to sell his bike, having narrowly survived an incident that could have left his wife a widow and his child fatherless.
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