A local high school band’s effort to replace its demolished box truck got a huge boost this week when an alumni stepped forward with a large check in hand.
Anthony Wild, who graduated from Leesburg High School in 1978 and operates the music-based nonprofit Kids Rock the Nation, paid a visit to the school’s marching band on Tuesday and presented them with an $8,000 check. The band is raising money to replace the truck that carries their equipment to competitions and performances after it was destroyed in an Oct. 16 crash on U.S. Hwy. 27 that involved four vehicles.
The deadly crash took place near Singletary Park and is being blamed on 49-year-old Jeffrey Michael Borovy, of Leesburg. Borovy is accused of slamming his Corvette into the back of Chevrolet Equinox driven by 74-year-old Floyd LeMaster, who died early Sunday morning from injuries suffered in the crash.
LeMaster’s SUV was knocked into two other vehicles, including the high school’s truck, which was returning from a percussion clinic at South Lake High School in Groveland. The driver of the high school’s 1996 International truck, intern Lucas James, escaped injury. Borovy, who claimed on the police report to be a rock star, was found hiding behind a guardrail near the crash scene and is facing a litany of charges, including DUI manslaughter.
On Tuesday, Realtor Wiley Hill, whose sons John and Matthew play in the band, recalled arriving at the crash scene moments after it happened.
“It was terrible,” said Hill, who also serves as a board member in the Band Parents Association. “I was still driving through plastic and glass and crunching, and I was on the phone with Lucas. He answered and said, “It’s OK. I’m all right.”
Hill and Wild were classmates at Leesburg High School and graduated together in 1978. When a Facebook post went up about the band’s need to raise money to replace their truck, Hill said Wild was one of the first to respond.
“He got on Facebook and said, ‘Kids Rock the Nation will be glad to help,’” Hill said, recalling that a week later Wild called back and said he’d be donating $8,000. “He said, ‘I wish I could do more.’ He could give me $1,000 and I’d be tickled.”
Band Director Gabriel Fielder expressed his condolences to LeMaster’s family on Tuesday and said the band had sent flowers in his honor. He expressed thanks that James’ wasn’t injured in the crash. And he said he makes it a policy “to trust in the good Lord” for all things.
“Look what he does,” Fielder said, shortly after accepting Wild’s generous donation. “He works through the hearts of people and they bless us.”
Fielder said the band will probably need somewhere between $20,000 to $25,000 to replace the truck and with donations that have come in through a GoFundMe page and a still-to-be-determined insurance settlement, Wild’s donation should put them past the halfway point.
“We’re not looking to buy something shiny and brand new,” he said. “We’re looking for a good, late-model truck with a few miles. Something that’s proven and fleet-maintained that’s going to take us 10, 15 years down the road.”
Fielder also offered thanks to those who have donated through the band’s GoFundMe effort, which currently sits at $4,672 of a $10,000 goal. As of late Wednesday afternoon, 111 people had made donations and 422 had shared the post.
“We think that amount is going to higher because this community is generous,” he said. “Every time they hear the news, they just come out in droves. It’s just about getting the word out there.”
For his part, Wild said he knew he needed to do something as soon as he heard the news about the truck being destroyed. He said he was thrilled that Kids Rock the Nation – an organization that strives to help build self-esteem and brain power through musical education – could help out his old high school.
“It feels great, but I wish I could have done more – and I will in the future,” said the Palm Coast resident. “We’re always striving to do as much as we can. I’m fortunate to be able to do what I do.”
Fielder, who couldn’t stop smiling or shaking Wild’s hand after receiving the donation, added: “He’s proof – proof that good things come out of Leesburg.”