August 3, 2010
Lightning victim making slow progress

One year after Vincentian Patrick Stephen “Benny” Gibson was struck by a bolt of lightning at Marine Park, in Brooklyn, New York, while playing Cricket for the Vincy team Stars, he is still on the mend.{{more}}

It was a smiling and jovial Gibson who spent the day in Brooklyn, away from Roosevelt Island, last Sunday, July 25, one day shy of the first anniversary of the tragic event.

It was a busy day for Gibson who attended church at the New Hope Pentecostal, in East New York on Lovina Avenue.

He also visited his former landlord at his apartment and then he spent the late afternoon on Troy Avenue at the home of Cleopatra Richards, his girlfriend, where he was greeted by many visitors.

“The day was good. I enjoyed the service. The pastor preached good,” Gibson said of his day.

“I also enjoyed the food”, Gibson chuckled.

When asked about what he missed most, he responded: “everything”, as according to him, it is boring where he is.

This may have pushed Gibson to set a goal to walk by the end of August.

Seeing his friends, all of whom he was able to call by name, was also a highlight of his day. Despite not being able to walk on his own, Gibson was not despondent. He was the usual bubbly person that most remembered, as he made funny comments and statements.

Richards, who since the incident, has been at Gibson’s side untiringly, said she would love for persons to become more involved in Patrick’s life.

“It’s not about being in a hospital bed. Lots of prayers went up for him and you see the results,” Richards commented.

President of the Brooklyn Cricket League (BCL) Carlton Samuel said: “The organisation is committed as best we can and will continue to do so.”

“I tried on a limited basis to monitor his progress. I should probably try to do better. Cleo knows we are just a phone call away,” Samuel confessed.

He promised to bring the 18 clubs involved in the 2010 season an update on Gibson’s progress and seek to get their input wherever possible.

Also expressing thanks was Gibson’s cousin Jennifer Gibson-Williams who thanked God for bringing Gibson thus far.

“On behalf of the family I want to thank Cleo who unselfishly went beyond the call. You are the most loving, caring and compassionate person I know. We love you,” Gibson-Williams said of Richards, who visits Gibson daily wherever he is institutionalized, no matter the weather.

Secretary of BCL Patrick Sutherland also promised the support, “in one way or the other.’’

Former teammate Leroy Neverson of Stars, which since the incident has been revamped and renamed Queensbury, brought back sad memories when he presented Gibson with what remained of the hat he was wearing on that dreadful day, July 26, 2009.

When Gibson saw it, that was the only time his mood changed, but he quickly recovered and sadly recalled, “I had a red one like this, too.”

For Gibson, who was an ardent cricketer, it was his first day playing for this team. He, however, had competed in various softball competitions.

After being struck by lightning, Gibson was revived by Patrice Redhead and Joseph Shortte prior to the arrival of the medics.

But the road to recovery since that Sunday has been a slow, trying and painful one for the 42-year-old Gibson, a former resident of Dauphine, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He has, though, fought it with strength and resilience.

Persons are encouraged to donate to the Stephen Gibson Appeal Fund set up at HSBC # 661760197 or you can send cheques to Stephen Gibson Appeal Fund 518 E 42nd St Brooklyn NY 11203.(RT)