Gerry Jeffers is a humble and a private man. The last thing that he would ever want would be to see his name in the newspaper. I’ll have to apologize to him later. But for now I am taking the liberty of telling you about him. I have learned over the past dozen days how wide ranging are his friendships. He is a special and important person in the lives of many.

Though I can appreciate his desire for privacy, I feel that he is unaware of the great number of people who hold him dear and care about him. He was badly injured in a car accident on Thursday, Sept. 21. That day was the windiest of all of the days that hurricane Maria impacted the Vineyard with gusts up to 60 mph. Yet the medivac helicopter flew him to Boston. He arrived there with an undetermined number of broken ribs and punctures in his lungs. He was placed in a medically induced coma while his lungs were reinflated and within a few days he was awake. A couple of days later the tubes keeping his lungs inflated were removed and he was breathing on his own. Several days later he sat in a chair for a while.

Amazing! He is a tough old guy. He’s 84 years old, has nearly two dozen breaks in his ribs and he’s been inactive for almost two weeks. That inactivity is not his style and would take its toll on him even if he was perfectly healthy. He would arrive at the Chappy ferry before 6 a.m. every school day to make the circuit of the Island with the school bus to gather up the kids and get them to class on time. Most days he would serve as deckhand on the ferry for several hours. When the UPS delivery truck came over he would head up to the Chappy store to sort and label packages. If time allowed he would come back to deckhand until it was time to head back to school to bring the kids home.

His quiet ambition is an inspiration to me. He’s not out of the woods yet, but I know that he has many people holding him in their thoughts and prayers. He is still in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. For the time being there is no way for the hospital to get well-wishing cards to him. You may send them to me at PO Box 221, Edgartown, MA 02539 and I will make sure that he gets them.

Last Sunday, I attended the memorial service for Alex Bass in New Hampshire. I think that twice as many people showed up as were expected. They came from far and wide. They were of all ages. They shared many stories of a man that could not have been completely known by any one individual. I’m sure that he would have been embarrassed at being the center of attention that day. I appreciated hearing one of the speakers say that as he reflected upon his lifelong friendship with Alex that he found his grief turning to gratitude. As we listened to his friends and family recount his impact on their lives we were in turns surprised, confirmed, amused, appalled, aghast, appreciative, inspired and impressed. It’s just the way of our human nature that a person is not fully acknowledged until their life is completed.

The late Annie Heywood’s life will be celebrated this Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Chappy Community Center starting at 4 p.m. All are welcome. She was one of a kind. It will be a one-of-a-kind memorial. I can still hear her voice. She was audible even over the rumble of the ferry engine during a howling nor’easter. Her family would appreciate donations to the CCC in her name. Annie’s photos have graced the annual Chappy Community Center calendar over the years as her presence has graced our community.

In case you miss all of the other notices, remember that beginning on Sunday, Oct. 15 only one ferry boat will be providing service to Chappaquiddick Island. Plan to wait in line at least twice as long as usual for the particular time of day that you use the ferry.

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