After suffering a potentially debilitating injury while on the job, a local paramedic's sister began a GoFundMe account in order to stave off any financial burden for the paramedic and his five children.
A GoFundMe account for her injured paramedic brother Stephen Sharp has already raised $600, and Amanda Sharp hopes funds continue rolling in as community awareness increases.
In February, while working for Lifeguard EMS, a motorist running a stop sign broadsided Sharp’s ambulance – breaking his arm in three places and potentially leaving him without means to support himself and his five children.
“I know his heart is with the community and I thought this was a really good opportunity for everyone step and show their support and love for him,” said Amanda Sharp, owner of the Bringing Hope Thrift Store in Brownwood. “… He has always been an inspiration to me as far as wanting to help people and make a difference in peoples’ lives. To see him not being able to do that is heartbreaking. That’s his dream, his calling from God.”
Sharp said her brother began working in the field of emergency management before he could legally work in an ambulance.
“He has served the community his entire life,” Sharp said. “He graduated at 16 years old. He was able to go through school to be an EMT prior to being old enough to be on the ambulance so he could not test. He worked as a 9-11 dispatcher until he was old enough to be on the ambulance. He went directly into that, then went from EMT basic, to intermediate and now paramedic.”
A link to the GoFundMe page can be found atop the Bringing Hope Thrift Store Facebook page. Sharp said monetary contributions are not the only focus of the GoFundMe page and encouraged citizens to give him encouragement as her brother recovers from his injuries. She added she plans to implement other fundraising efforts in the future, but has not reached that point yet.
“A kind word or a phone call would mean the world to him,” Sharp said. “The GoFundMe was pretty simple, I just did that from home. Everything has been concentrated on him and his recovery right now.”
Although working for what he described as a company with one of the best benefit packages in the area, Stephen Sharp said the funds from his workman’s compensation claim from Lifeguard EMS will not cover all of his expenses. Sharp said the compensation only covers about 69 percent of his annual wage.
“You never think it’s going to be you,” Sharp said. “We just dropped a patient off and got T-boned. I never expected to get hurt … There is a cutoff line for the maximum the state allows and it figures out to I’m only getting 40 percent of what my pay was. On top of that, I have five kids and have to pay child support on two of them. I have to pay all of that out of my pocket after I get my workman’s comp check, plus my insurance.”
Sharp recently returned from visiting an area physician Monday, saying the most optimistic projection for when he can return is between six months to a year. Despite all of the pain and hardship he experienced since the accident, Sharp said he looks forward to returning to work as soon as he can.
“I love what I do and what I do for the community,” Sharp said. “This is tough for me. I’m not used to being in the public spotlight … It’s a passion and it’s the only thing I have ever done and the only thing I know how to do.“
To make a donation or offer words of encouragement, visit www.gofundme.com/richard-stephen-sharp-recovery.