A Guyton woman wasn’t able to attend a fundraiser held on her behalf Saturday, but the attendance reflected how many people are thinking about her.
Friends, colleagues and total strangers turned out for a raffle, car wash and dunk tank at Hooters of Savannah to raise money for Adrianna Flowers. Flowers, 22, suffered multiple injuries on June 6 when her car was hit head-on by a man driving with a suspended license, and she remains in the hospital.
“She wanted to be here today, but obviously she still has a little bit of time in rehab,” said friend Kacee DeVore. “She is just overwhelmed with the donations, the support, the prayers, everything. She is so grateful.”
Flowers’ 4-year-old son Owen died as a result of the head-on collision investigators say was caused by Robert Kenneth Waugh, 38, of Guyton. Flowers has left the hospital only to attend her son’s June 13 funeral.
DeVore works as a patient care technician at Memorial Health University Medical Center, and said she has been visiting Flowers every day Monday-Friday.
“She is doing very well physically. She is on the road to recovery,” DeVore said. “Emotionally, I’m sure anyone can imagine how that would be — that’ll never go away — but physically she’s doing much better.”
Amber Gorlesky organized the fundraiser after visiting her friend in the hospital just three days after the crash. She was inspired to do something to help after seeing the strength Flowers was showing under the life-changing circumstances.
A steady flow of cars streamed through the Hooters parking lot for the car wash, and donors contributed to the raffle and dunk tank. The event raised $4,488 toward Flowers’ mounting medical bills and the expenses from Owen’s funeral, according to Gorlesky.
“This has been fantastic, seeing everybody here supporting and asking about Adrianna,” she said. “We had some of the firefighters come in who were actually at the accident when it happened, and they were checking on her and seeing how she was doing. It’s been heart-warming.”
The money from Saturday is in addition to the nearly $16,000 donated so far to the account DeVore established for Flowers on the fundraising site www.GoFundMe.com. DeVore acknowledged she has been “blown away” by the community’s response.
“When it started, I never thought that we’d have it grow to what it is now,” she said. “I can’t thank everyone enough; I don’t even know all the people who have donated and helped with this. It’s awesome, amazing.”
A “We Love Owen” banner at the table where raffle tickets were sold was just one of the signs that Flowers’ little boy was in the thoughts of many. Several people, including each of the Hooters girls washing cars, wore Spider-Man shirts in tribute to Owen’s favorite character.
“He was all boy 24/7 and the sweetest, most lovable little guy out there,” Gorlesky said. “He was amazing. He was always smiling.”
The event raised not only money but also awareness of safe driving. Waugh is suspected of driving under the influence, and witnesses said he was driving recklessly prior to crossing the center line on Highway 17 and hitting Flowers’ car head-on.
Charges will be filed once the Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team concludes its investigation and Waugh is released from the hospital, according to Trooper Joel Mock.
Brenda Turner, a victim specialist with the Mothers Against Drunk Driving state office in Atlanta, attended the fundraiser to hand out information and answer questions. She was impressed by the turnout.
“I think it’s been great,” Turner said. “There have been cars non-stop, so that’s really encouraging.”
How to help
Visit www.gofundme.com/adriannaowen to donate toward Adrianna Flowers’ medical bills and her son Owen’s funeral expenses. Also, donations can be made to the Owen Rivers Memorial Fund at any branch of The Heritage Bank.