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Goodwill gesture helps out RHHS student
Bob Hanneman raised funds for Emily Martin at a fish fry Saturday. - photo by Photo by Ross Blair

Richmond Hill resident Bob Hanneman won a four-wheeler in December from a raffle aimed to raise funds for Emily Martin – the 15-year-old RHHS student who suffered life-threatening injuries in a September auto wreck.

Perhaps inspired by Martin family friends who organized the charity raffle, Hanneman turned around and raffled the vehicle this past weekend to raise another $600 to help the family with medical bills.

Hanneman sold the tickets during a fish fry event for the Cobra Club on Saturday and invited the Martin family to attend so Emily herself could draw the winning ticket.

"I know they need help with the doctor bills," Hanneman said. "I just feel blessed that retirement from the railroad has left me with enough to do me and my wife good, and she needs the money more than me. I mean that’s what neighbors are for – to help somebody out that needs it more than we do."

Immediately following the accident, Emily's fate was unclear because she suffered multiple head fractures.

Recently, doctors surgically inserted a cranial shunt to help stabilize pressure. The surgeries and two-month stay at Memorial’s intensive care unit have resulted in enormous medical bills - and in community support like Hanneman’s to help the family take care of their debts.

Meanwhile, Emily's health is "miraculously" improving and she is anticipated to make a full recovery, according to her mother Pam Martin. Martin said Emily has been going through occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy while on her road to recovery. Beyond that, she is walking, talking and working toward putting her life back together, Martin said.

Martin said her daughter recently regained normal vision as, since the accident, "She was legally blind in her right eye and almost in her left eye. Her vision is now 20/25 so she’s doing excellent. She’s doing hospital home care and is doing really well with that, and there are two teachers that come to the house and work with her. This is the first time she’s really been out besides to the doctor. She’s not physically back to where she was, but she’ll get there. She has one more week of no strenuous activity before starting some stronger pace physical therapy. We are just so blessed."

Emily herself seemed to be moving around just fine and was visibly excited to be apart of the live raffle. She had planned on doing the same at the December raffle at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, but her poor health did not allow it.

"It’s good to be out with a lot of people," she said. "I’m feeling fine now and I’m excited about going back to school next year. I didn’t think I’d ever say I miss school, but I do. I’m thankful for everybody that has bought raffle tickets and just done so many things to help. They didn’t have to, and it was very sweet of them."

The original raffle garnered $1,000. Hanneman said Futch’s Auto Sales donated a $700 four-wheeler for the original raffle but business owner Paris Futch upgraded the prize to a $1,400 model once hearing of Hanneman’s plans for it.

Hanneman said he was pleased with 600 tickets sold as that was collected among the 200 Cobra Club members who came to the fish fry event.

The Cobra Club is made up of alumni from the old Commercial High School in Savannah, which closed its doors in 1960 when Jenkins and Groves were formed. Club member Bobby Harn’s name was drawn by Emily. Harn said he plans on surprising his grandsons, who live on 16 acres in Rincon, with the four-wheeler.

There are two ways to help the Martin family: Donations are being accepted to the Martin Family Trust Fund at Bryan Bank & Trust, or by purchasing $3 "Stay Strong Emily" bracelets. The bracelets are made in a tie-dye of Emily’s favorite colors and are available at Royal True Value Hardware Store, Plum’s, Richmond Hill Pharmacy, Cadre Shops, Ella’s, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and What’s the Scoop.

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