As you may or may not have heard, on Sunday, June 24th, a family in our off-road community experienced a devastating and life-changing tragedy.
Phoenix Class 1 racer Jeff Darland, his sons Gage (9) and Dylan (7), his girlfriend Jennifer Decker and her son Brock (8), set out to enjoy a summer vacation at Lake Powell. Just outside the Bullfrog Marina area, their boat hit an obstruction (most likely a sand bar). All three boys were ejected from the boat. Brock and Gage were not hurt, but Dylan was struck by the prop and sustained critical injuries, including the loss of a leg.
Unbelievably, they were able to find a good Samaritan who rushed Dylan and Jeff to the local medical clinic. Dylan was stabilized at the medical clinic in Page and transported via Air Lift to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Jeff was so distraught that he was not permitted to fly with his son. Jennifer accompanied Dylan to PCH while Jeff was left in Page with the two other boys, limited communication, no idea what was happening and no way to get back.
After being notified of the accident, Dylan’s mom, Tara and her husband Vince Gagliardi rushed to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Jeff’s managed to contact long time friend and fellow Arizona racer John Herder. John and his wife Paulette sprung into action and contacted another racer who immediately volunteered his plane to bring Jeff and the boys back to town the next morning.
In addition to the family’s countless friends and family – it was the extended off-road racing community that rallied without missing a beat. It never ceases to amaze me what our community can do when one of our own is in need. Special thanks also go out to Jerry French, Pete Sohren, Rick Geiser and many others for their selflessness and generosity of support.
The road ahead for young racer Dylan Darland will have challenges that are hard to foresee at this point. Many have asked “what can we do to help”? At this point – a trust account has been set up for Dylan Darland. As an incredibly active and talented young boy, he will encounter the need for many prosthetic devices and special equipment.
The generosity of the off-road community is like no other. Let’s show this young boy what it’s all about.
Above all – please keep the Darland and Gagliardi families in your thoughts and prayers.
Stay strong, Dylan Darland. We are all rooting for you.
Marty & Susan Fiolka
Routing #122100024 Account #3010649654