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Boothbay community rallies around crash victim, family

BOOTHBAY (WGME) -- The Boothbay community is rallying around a teen injured in a serious car crash.

John Leonard said the community is giving him a precious gift. From taking out the trash to running his business, they're lifting the burden so he can be there to hold his daughter's hand as she recovers from brain trauma

"A police officer came to the door, told us about it," said Leonard.

Leonard never thought it would happen to his family.

"It took them 40 minutes to get her out of the car," he said. "There wasn't much left."

On the night of Feb. 11, Emma Leonard, 17, was hit head on and rushed to Maine Medical Center in Portland with torn ligaments in her leg, and a brain injury.

"Everyday things we know, she doesn't quite know yet, so it's gonna take a little time," said Leonard.

Leonard, and his wife Donna, have barely left Emma's bedside over the past 10 days.

"We can tell she's comforted," Leonard said. "We wouldn't want her to be alone."

Comforting his daughter means abandoning his business, "John's Lawns," and the 50 customers he keeps plowed and shoveled out.

But Leonard didn't have to worry for long. William Morton, one of his employees, quickly took charge.

"Just (to) try to get the burden off John's back," said Morton.

And then, Jared Spofford stepped up too.

"I was like, 'What can I do to help out that family?'" said Spofford.

Spofford worked for Leonard a couple years ago, and is a senior in high school. So, he grabbed a friend from his English class, Jason Maddocks, and hit the street.

"So we got together, plowed all night, got things done," said Spofford. "To see John's face at the end, it was just priceless. It felt good."

Some friends paid for the Leonards to stay in a hotel near the hospital for a few nights, while others took out their trash and did dishes,

"It makes me feel really good," said Leonard. "Warms my heart they want to help and don't want anything in return."

Leonard said it makes him feel blessed to call Boothbay home.

"And I never realized it before, until now, how great it is," said Leonard. "Better than anything in the world."

Leonard said Emma will soon start rehab. She's got a long recovery ahead, but he said the whole family will get through it, with a little help from their friends.

Friends want the Leonard family to focus on that recovery, rather than mounting expenses. An online fundraiser has generated about $6,500 in a week. To donate, go to: http://www.gofundme.com/6vjn0o