BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The Jemez Riders Motorcycle Group is once again raising funds this year for medical expenses for Wyatt Taylor, a young La Cueva man who was seriously injured in a tragic accident in December 2017 which left him hospitalized for several months.
For the second year, the group is conducting a raffle for a 30-minute helicopter ride that has been generously donated by Classic Air Medical. The ride will be for the raffle winner and two guests and will leave from Los Alamos Airport.
Organizers are selling tickets from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday in the Sullivan Field Parking Lot. Tickets are $10 each. The Los Alamos Reporter is also selling tickets and anyone interested may call (505) 412-8739 to make arrangements to purchase some.
The Jemez Riders are happy to announce that the 3rd Annual Wyatt Taylor Benefit Rally from Los Alamos toJemez Springs is slated for Saturday, Sept. 18. More details will be available later. The drawing of the winning ticket for the helicopter ride will be a 2 p.m., Sept. 18 at Rancho de la Luz Picnic Area near Jemez Springs.
“The community has shown amazing generosity in its support of our fundraising for the Taylor family over the last three years,” said Richard Sturgeon, president of the Jemez Riders. “The Jemez Riders are looking forward to raising funds again this year to help this amazing, brave and resilient young man who has shown us all his great courage in the last four years.”
Four years after the accident, Taylor still faces multiple medical procedures and his family continues to pay medical expenses and the cost of travel out of state treatment.
When the accident happened, Taylor was headed out on his ATV to feed the family’s horses at a remote pasture. He was riding on the side of the road when his ATV hit a rock causing him to lose control of the steering. The ATV rolled down over an embankment and a barbed wire fence and into a ditch. Thrown off the ATV, he ended up pinned underneath with his face forced against the a tire. The ATV was pinned into the engaged position which left the tire spinning relentlessly against his face.
Family members reported that Wyatt heard three cars go by before realizing that he was not in view of the road and that it was up to him to save himself. Somehow, he managed to free himself after the ATV engine stopped, hike up a hill and make his way a quarter of a mile to the closest house. Wyatt sustained full-thickness burns down to the bone on the right side of his face from the top of his head to his jawline, with major damage to his right eye and the right side of his nose as well as full-thickness burns to his left hand and arm.
Taylor and his family have strong ties to Los Alamos and the surrounding area. Wyatt, as well as his parents Lee and Michelle are deeply involved with the La Cueva Fire Department. Lee and Michelle both graduated from Los Alamos High School. Wyatt’s grandparents Ginny and Gerry Taylor and Tom and Elaine Brunton live in Los Alamos and both grandfathers retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Wyatt has three grown sisters, Courtney, Vanessa and Kirsten.