NAUGATUCK — Avery Moore should be starting his sophomore year at Naugatuck High School with his two brothers in a couple of weeks, but instead a daunting fight lies ahead for the borough teenager after a car accident left him with devastating injuries.
On Aug. 1, Avery, 14, suffered a broken vertebrae, paralyzing him, in a car accident in Long Island, N.Y.
Thomas Moore, Avery’s father and a captain with the Naugatuck Fire Department, said he and his wife, Becky, were on their way to a sunset cruise to celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary. Avery and another family member were in the car as well.
Moore said the car was stopped at a traffic light when it was rear-ended.
Moore and his wife walked away from the accident primarily with bruises, but Avery wasn’t so lucky.
After the accident, Avery underwent surgery at Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, N.Y. Avery was able to move his arms, but not his hands, legs or feet, after surgery. Moore said the extent of the permanent damage Avery suffered is still unknown. It likely won’t be known for months.
Moore said Avery, who is one of a set of triplets with his brothers, Brody and Casey, is passionate about the arts, including music, theater and photography, and enjoys camping and swimming in his spare time.
“He is a happy kid,” Moore said. “He likes to be around family and cousins.”
Avery is now at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford, where he faces a long road to recovery.
Moore said he is taking a month off from work and his wife, who works as a math coach at City Hill Middle School, is taking a year off to care for Avery.
Moore started with the fire department in 2005. He is the commander of the “A” shift and the president of the firefighters union.
“Tommy is an integral and respected member of the Naugatuck Fire Department family, and his fellow officers are doing everything they can to ensure that his shifts are covered so he can concentrate on Avery and not have to be concerned with exhausting his leave time in the process,” Naugatuck Fire Department Second Assistant Chief John DeBisschop said.
Since news of the accident spread, the community has stepped forward to help the Moore family.
Ester Yakobson Moore, Avery’s aunt, started a GoFundMe page (www.gofundme.com/5tntd-bring-avery-home) for the family that raised over $27,000 as of Friday.
The firefighters union is putting on a pasta dinner fundraiser for the Moore family. The dinner is Aug. 25 starting at 5 p.m. at the Naugatuck Elks Lodge, 758 Rubber Ave. The union is asking for a minimum recommended donation of $20 at the door.
The union is also accepting donations. Checks should be made out to NFD Local 1219 Sunshine Club, with Avery Moore in the memo section. Checks can mailed to L1219, P.O. Box 571, Naugatuck, CT, 06770, or dropped off at the fire headquarters, 41 Maple St.
“Nothing can take away their pain, but we can ease their burden. … The challenge Avery and his family are now facing is no small one, but with his proven ability to persevere we are confident he will exceed any expectations his doctors may have,” a post on the union’s Facebook page reads.
According to a post on its Facebook page, Studio Z 62, a local Zumba studio, is holding a fundraiser for the Moore family at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 1 at the studio, 136 Church St. The studio is holding a dance class and will be accepting donations.
Moore said it was hard at first to accept the help people offered because he is a proud person and didn’t want to take handouts. However, he’s extremely thankful for everything people are doing for his family.
“The fire department is a big family. And Naugatuck is a very tight-knit community. Sometimes you don’t realize it until something like this happens. People I don’t even know have reached out to try to help us. It means a lot because you are not alone,” Moore said.