FARMINGTON – The RSU 9 community is rallying around a Mt. Blue High School junior who was seriously injured in a vehicle accident Sept. 19 in Dresden. Fundraisers to offset expenses and messages of encouragement are being undertaken.
King, 16, of Wilton, was on Route 27 when he lost control of a truck he was driving to Boothbay Harbor for his dad's business, and it went into a ditch and struck a utility pole, Mt. Blue Middle School teacher Maureen Oswald said. No texting or alcohol was involved, she said.
His injuries include a broken neck and he is at a Boston hospital undergoing intense rehabilitation.
Updates on how he is doing can be found on Facebook page: Joe King – paving the way to recovery. Well-wishers may leave messages there.
Oswald, other teaches and staff, students and community members in the 10-town school district are planning fundraisers to help offset the family's cost of travel to Boston and associated expenses.
A day of fun and a spaghetti supper are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20. Oswald and Joe's fellow student Danika Morin are spearheading the effort.
Live entertainment, face painting, a silent auction, costumed children, a bake sale and fun for all ages is planned from noon to 3 p.m. at Meetinghouse Park in Farmington.
From 5 to 7 p.m. an all-you-can-eat spaghetti supper will be served at Mt. Blue Middle School cafe. The menu also includes salad, rolls and beverages. Live, local entertainment will also be part of the evening. The cost is $10, $8 for senior citizens and children under 10. For more information on either fundraiser call 778-3511.
Joe left his mark on staff at the middle school when he attended there, especially for his kindness, humor, smile and attitude, Oswald, who taught him in seventh and eighth grade, said.
"Joe is the type who volunteers for anything that needs to be done,” she said. “He has been working side by side with his dad since he could walk and takes great pride in the paving industry.”
King is the son of Jim and Samantha King. The family business is King & Sons Paving in Wilton.
“Joe has a perpetual smile and a broad group of friends, as he is kind to everyone,” Oswald said. “Joe is 'everyone's buddy.'”
She still recalls Joe dancing with a nursing home resident during a student- sponsored social, and the resident was “smiling ear to ear,” she said.
Joe was also awarded the Citizenship Award because he has a contagious attitude and smile and was always there for a person in need, Oswald said.
“Joe would do anything for anyone,” Mt. Blue Middle School teacher Jayne Flagg said. “Sometimes we actually worried about him giving too much to people – his food, money – his hand was always out to give.”
He has the best smile, she said.
“Joe was a kind-hearted student here at the middle school, and I can only assume that is a part of who he is, as he continues this reputation in the high school,” Principal Gary Oswald said.
He is “the kind of student that every teacher loves to have in class,” Mark Simpson, who taught Joe in the seventh and eighth grade. “He works hard and brings such a great attitude to school every day that you can't help but smile right along with him.”
Fellow students love to be around him because of his great personality and sense of humor, he said.
They are all pulling for his recovery now.