Jonathan Salovitz was vacationing in Florida with family and friends when on the morning of April 16, he was injured in a car accident. Salovitz, 21, a Stonington native was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center, listed as a John Doe until a friend was able to identify him a few hours later.
Diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, preparations are now under way to move Salovitz to a rehabilitation hospital in Connecticut. Family, friends, and community members are anxiously waiting to welcome Salovitz home.
But in the meantime they are planning a benefit dinner, organizing two daily prayer chains, and planning several other charitable events all to ensure Salovitz and his family have the financial, emotional and physical support they’ll need during Salovitz’s recovery.
“There’s been a ground swell of support,” said Salovitz’s aunt Ellie Dunn, adding that in some ways she was surprised by the support in other ways she was not.
“The Stonington Community is a community known for pulling together,” Dunn said. “The response has been more than generous.”
One of those responses is a benefit pasta dinner. The dinner planned by family and friends will take place on Saturday, June 4 at the in Stonington Borough. According to Dunn all of the food, much of it donated is being made by family and friends. Friends of Salovitz’s including members of the Stonington Golf Team, which Salovitz played on in school and employees of the , where he worked, have reached out to local businesses to hold a raffle during the dinner. Businesses’ donations include a shampoo and blow dry from a local salon, a $100 gift certificate from a jewelry store, and dinning certificates from area restaurants. Tickets for the basket raffle will be available at the dinner for a $1 a ticket.
And Salovitz’s sister Kara and his girlfriend Haley Smith are designing t-shirts to sell at the dinner. Dunn said the t-shirts will likely say “Team Jonathan” and “We love boys in helmets,” Salovitz will have to wear a helmet for a while.
All of the proceeds from the dinner will be donated to the Salovitz family to pay for medical costs including the air ambulance to move Salovitz back to Connecticut and his rehabilitation.
While details of the accident remain unclear and the police are still investigating the crash Salovitz continues to make progress in his recovery.
“He’s making amazing strides, he started speaking again, sitting up on his own,” Dunn said. Those strides may not be quick enough for Salovitz who Dunn says was snapping his fingers as if to say let’s get the show on the road when things weren’t moving quickly enough.
Still, Dunn said the doctors have not given the family a prognosis saying everyone’s brain is different and only time will tell. Family and friends can track Salovitz’s progress on his Caring Bridge website.
In the meantime family and friends are planning other events such as a golf tournament, a band concert and comedy show to benefit Salovitz.
“Jon is everybody’s friend—friends with people from all walks of life, just a very easy-going likeable person,” Dunn said.
But it’s not just money people are donating it’s time. Dunn began reaching out to people via social networking sites such as Facebook after Salovitz’s accident and now every day at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. people around the world pray for Salovitz as far away as in Europe and South Africa.
“It shows you the power of love and prayer, I say ‘love + prayer + wonderful doctors = miracles,” Dunn said.
Tickets for the Saturday, June 4 can be purchased in advanced by calling Alison Rogers at 860-501-8628, Ellie Dunn at 860-599-0554, at the Daniel Packer Inne in Mystic or at the door. Tickets for the dinner cost $10 and raffle tickets will be available at the benefit with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Salovitz family. Donations payable to the "Jonathan Salovitz Fund" are being accepted via mail: Jonathan Salovitz, c/o The Savings Institute 80 Stonington Rd, Mystic, CT 06355. For more information visit the Benefit Pasta Dinner for Jonathan Salovitz Facebook event or call Ellie Dunn at 860-599-0554.