Horse community rallies to help local woman

Posted Nov. 02, 2010, at 7:28 p.m.

Friends, family, fellow horse enthusiasts and members of Carmel Union Congregational Church will hold a benefit dinner-silent auction for Wendy Chamberlain beginning at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Carmel Snowmobile Club on Route 69.

The event benefits the Carmel resident, who was injured during an early October trail ride along an Acadia National Park carriage road when the horse she was on stumbled and Wendy fell off.

Admission is by donation, and donations for the silent auction are most welcome.

If you would like more information or to donate an item to the auction, call benefit chairwoman Sandi Oliver at 848-3199 or e-mail wil3591@aol.com.

According to information compiled and provided by her friends, Wendy, who was wearing a helmet that day, landed on her head and broke her neck in four places.

As traumatic as the accident was, good fortune surrounded her, as her riding companion was able to get cell phone service in the area, which reportedly is quite unusual. A cycling doctor and nurse riding behind the pair were able to stabilize Wendy immediately.

After being taken to Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, Wendy was airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

Surgeons there operated on Wendy to fuse her neck through her fourth vertebra. Since Wendy’s spine already had been fused from her fourth through sixth vertebrae after a previous accident, the prognosis was not good.

There was the expectation that Wendy would be paralyzed and unable to drive or even work again.

However, as Wendy’s friend Kris Nicola of Carmel (who is working with Sandi and others on this benefit) told me, the results of Wendy’s surgery have amazed even her doctors.

Wendy is not paralyzed.

She has been able to return to her home and is undergoing therapy and rehabilitation. And while there is some numbness and lack of mobility, Wendy is able to walk.

“It’s quite an amazing story,” Kris said. “Her doctors are astounded, but Wendy’s just a good, hardworking farm girl.”

Kris told me that many people in Maine’s horse community know Wendy and will especially remember her as having accompanied her son, Jesse Chamberlain, in his years of eventing throughout the state.

For those unfamiliar with the term “eventing,” it includes participating in competitions such as dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping, Kris told me.

Sandi wrote that they “as a horse community” are doing what they can to support Wendy during this trying time by joining forces with church members and friends to help her, and they hope those of you who know Wendy and her family will be supportive as well.

If you cannot attend the benefit, you can make a contribution to assist her through this difficult time by sending a donation to Sandi Oliver, 108 Fuller Road, Hermon 04401.

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As we approach Veterans Day, Nov. 11, we congratulate members of the Greater Bangor Area Detachment No. 1151 of the Marine Corps League and all fellow members on the occasion of the 235th Marine Corps birthday.

The local organization will be host to Bangor’s fourth annual Marine Corps League Birthday Ball on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.

Dave Johnson informed me that the Greater Bangor Area Detachment No. 1151 was chartered Nov. 30, 2003, and that it has grown to be the largest detachment in Maine.

The local organization focuses its “energy and resources on providing aid to local veterans and their families in need,” Dave wrote, and one of the major recipients of its efforts is the Bangor Veterans Center.

In addition to participating in local patriotic events, members of Detachment 1151 take part in Veterans Recognition Days at Brewer High School and Center Drive School in Orrington.

For more information about this organization, call Dave Johnson at 843-6929 or e-mail icd1moose@roadrunner.com.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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