Since her husband Perry was injured in an early September motorcycle accident, Wendy-Ann Polderman has been amazed at the support from so many in the town of Canton.
Polderman, the town's transfer station attendant and owner of a local gun shop, was badly injured in the accident and lost his left leg below the knee. He will get a prosthetic leg but is currently on crutches and is recovering from other injuries.
But Polderman has kept a positive attitude and was in good spirits at a pasta dinner in his benefit Saturday night.
"He realizes how lucky he is," Wendy-Ann said. "We have a lot to be grateful for."
Polderman's goal is to return to work by spring.
Saturday night, Polderman's co-workers hosted the dinner to help offset the cost of his recovery efforts.
Approximately 150 people came out and many more purchased tickets and made donations to support the effort.
Wendy-Ann Polderman said she was thrilled to see all the support and greetings her husband received and hear how many people missed seeing him at the town's transfer station.
"I was just surprised to see so many people," she said. "Eventually it's going to hit him how many people care."
Wendy-Ann Polderman said that support also started before the dinner. Public Works Director Robert Martin and so others have been very supportive since the accident, she said. She's also been overwhelmed with how much his co-workers have done.
The pasta dinner was largely organized by members of the local R1-198 chapter of the National Association of Government Employees, which includes fellow Public Works employees as well as town custodians.
"The guys did a good job," Wendy-Ann Polderman said.
In addition, the town really stepped up to help, keeping track of the funds, offering the community center for the dinner and publicizing the event, said union president Tom Richardson. Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner, Public Works Director Robert Martin, Town Clerk Linda Smith, Finance Officer Amy O'Toole, First Selectmen Richard Barlow and other selectmen were especially helpful, Richardson said.
Richardson said he also wanted to give ShopRite of Canton a special thank you. The store made the pasta and other food town employees and other volunteers served Saturday night and offered it at a very good discount, Richardson said.
Richardson said it's been wonderful to watch everyone come together and offer support. Pre-event ticket drives resulted in thousands in donations.
"It was great," Richardson said. "The whole community came together."
An exact total raised from the dinner was not immediately available.
Whatever the final tally, the support is immeasurable, Perry Polderman said.
"We can't thank them enough," he said.
The support is also not finished yet. On Nov. 3, Cheryl Ouellette of Out Spoke-N Girlz, a group of female motorcycle riders, is coordinating a benefit at Rice Fields in Canton. The event includes a ride but much more for the general public including live music, food and a raffle. Cost is $25 for riders and adult attendees. Motorcycle passengers get a $5 discount and it will be $10 for kids under 12 and seniors. Patch will have more details on the event next week.
In addition, donations can be made to Perry Polderman c/o Robert Coffin, Collinsville Savings Society, PO Box 350, Canton, CT 06019.