Fundraiser held for injured Macon-Bibb firefighter

Fundraiser held for injured Macon-Bibb firefighter

jmink@macon.comSeptember 14, 2013 

Sgt. Cedric Rollin smiles when talking about his friend, Macon-Bibb County fire Sgt. Eric John. He knows John as a fun-loving man, who loves to laugh.

“He’s a giver,” Rollin said. “He’ll do anything for you.”

That is one reason why friends and family members wanted to do something for John, a Macon firefighter and EMT, as he recovers from an on-duty accident. An all-day fundraiser was held Saturday at the Macon fire department for John, who was working July 11 at the scene of a traffic crash when a car struck him.

John suffered a brain injury, broken bones and dislocations, but now “he’s doing really well,” his sister Genevieve Rhyne said, adding he is conscious.

About a week after the accident, a group of friends and family members began planning Saturday’s Run Ride Play for Eric John event to help support John and his family through his recovery. The group did not have a fundraising goal -- they simply wanted to help someone who has made a career of helping others, they said.

“Eric is a hero in this community,” said Lisa Brown, of Macon, John’s colleague and an event organizer. “He wouldn’t hesitate to run into a burning house for us, so we wanted to help him.”

The event kicked off Saturday morning with a 5K run and a pancake breakfast. In the midst of sunny, breezy weather, the event continued with a barbecue lunch, a motorcycle ride, children’s games and several bands playing until the evening hours.

Roland Neel, CEO of Mrs. Griffin’s Barbecue Sauce in Macon, donated barbecue sauce for the benefit lunch.

“It’s a friend and a neighbor, a firefighter that got hurt,” Neel said. “This is just what friends and neighbors do.”

A long line stretched from the lunch table, as musicians lugged guitar cases across the street and music boomed from a parking lot stage. Children bounced across the lawn, carrying tickets, jumping on inflatables, throwing balls at a dunking booth, showing off their face paints, laughing at clowns and playing games.

“We came to support a great cause,” said Becky Filion, of Macon, whose daughter carefully tossed balls into cups at one game station. “We have a lot of respect for firefighters, EMTs and police officers.”

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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