A Webster Groves teenager is on the long road to recovery after being hit by a car. But a special group of friends is going above and beyond to help James Groenier and his family get back on their feet.
Friday evening, a benefit concert will be held for Groenier at Webster Groves High School. The event is free to attend and runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Organizers are asking for donations to help Groenier's family through this though financial time.
Last September, 16-year-old Groenier was crossing Edgar Road at Garden Avenue in Webster Groves when he was hit by a pickup truck.
“I pressed the button. When it said walk I went,” said Groenier. “The next thing I remember after that is the pressure of the left tire on my body and I was on my ground and I was dragged about thirty feet.”
The teenager was in bad shape with a torn ACL and splintered bones in his knee, a severe concussion and deep scrapes over large portions of his body, some down to muscle.
Despite the severity of his injuries, Groenier managed to survive.
In the days and weeks following the accident, a constant stream of friends flowed through Groenier's hospital room.
“It was a really crazy experience to go see him so broken. He's a huge dude and it's weird to see him reduced to a hospital bed,” said Isabella Blake.
“I felt like it would be good to give him social interactions,” added Ray McIntyre.
Through five months of painful recovery and physical therapy, Groenier's friends stood by his side. And when they realized the toll the hospital bills were taking on the family, the diverse group of singers, actors and musicians started brainstorming ways to help.
“Hey, what if you guys did sort of like a concert or something? And I was like that would be perfect,” said Owen Ragland.
The group started pulling strings and managed to secure the auditorium at Webster Groves High School. They also secured the life-long gratitude of Groenier's parents.
“I'm just astonished by all the help we've gotten from everybody here in Webster,” said Paul Groenier.
“If this is our future, if these kids are our future then we're in good hands. This country's in good hands,” said Sally Miller Groenier.
James Groenier still doesn't know when he'll be able to walk again. But thanks to his group of friends, he knows he'll always have someone to lean on.
“Webster's such a strong community. It's just such an incredible thing to see.”
Donations are also welcome on Groenier's GoFundMe page.