Carson High student Stephanie Schmidt, family overwhelmed by community support
The Schmidt family wishes to thank the following businesses, individuals and many more for their support during this time.
Metcalf Builders/Tom Metcalf
Western Nevada Supply
Builders Association of Northern Nevada - Mia Brooks
Denton Cabinet Co.
Pat Gatlin Drywall
Carson City Building Division
Carson High and Faculty
Douglas High and Faculty
A New U Salon
Sierra Strength and Endurance
Chris and Joanne O’Higgins
Tim and Laurie Sheets
Vinnie and Dianna Congusti
Coach Robert Maw
Kent and Leslie Otto
Molly and Mallory Otto
Jason and Dena Copeland
Frank and Terese Martinez
Chad and Michelle Hamilton
Jeff and Melissa Wood
Jason Foster/Kimberly Davis
In a small town like Carson City, community is more than just a word: it’s a way of life.
Carson High student Stephanie Schmidt was witness to that after the community came together following the Kings Canyon crash last November.
The teen was injured after the vehicle she was riding in crashed in Kings Canyon, injuring six teenagers and killing one, Tim Jones. But, for the Schmidt family, the support both financially and emotionally from the community was overwhelming in their time of need.
“When my dad first told me (what people did for me) I was so shocked there were so many volunteers to help,” Stephanie said. “Just because people were so nice I was shocked.”
Stephanie was taken to Renown Regional Medical Center after the crash where she underwent multiple brain surgeries and had a T-7 and T-8 spinal fracture, which resulted in her losing the ability to move from her belly button down.
“We were driving around like teenagers do, looking for something to do,” Stephanie said. “Then I remember going around one turn and then it goes black.”
After that the next thing she remembered was waking up in the hospital room.
“I was confused, I had forgotten about the accident and I was just wondering why I wasn’t at home,” Stephanie said.
It was a long journey to recovery. After several weeks in the hospital, she traveled to Craig, Colo., for rehabilitation treatment.
“The first couple of weeks in the hospital was rough,” Stephanie said. “It was rough in rehab, to come to terms with not being able to walk again. Anyone who can stand, they should be grateful because I wish I could do that. I just want to be able to stand on my own two feet again.”
During that time, Stephanie’s family was flying between the two states, as her mother was still working in Nevada and her brother was in school. Donations from the community also went toward helping the family with their medical bills, travel costs to get back and forth from Colorado and more during that time.
“When I think about it, it is hard, but I have my family and friends to support me and get past it,” Stephanie said.
And, in her time of need the community rallied behind her.
Through support from individuals and businesses across Carson, the Schmidts also received financial assistance that went toward helping create an ADA compliant home.
Home Depot set up a $5,000 grant to the family, covering costs for labor and materials to create wheelchair ramps, a revamped bedroom on the ground floor, an ADA compliant bathroom and more for Stephanie. Her bedroom was upstairs, which was no longer accessible.
“It has been everything for me,” Stephanie said. “My room was still upstairs and this just made everything easy.”
The volunteers not only made it wheelchair accessible, but also redecorated the entire room to create the perfect space for a teenage girl.
They also remodeled the master bathroom and closet to create a vanity, closet and shower that was wheelchair accessible and easier to manage so Stephanie is able to use it on her own, including being able to get in and out of her chair into the shower. Family and friends even volunteered to re-tile the bathroom floors and paint the bedroom and bathroom for free.
“We wanted to thank them for their hard work,” said her father Michael Schmidt. “It was just so much… it was just amazing how it came together.”
In addition to the room improvement, the money also went toward helping create wheelchair ramps from the backyard into the house.
“We wanted to thank all of the businesses in Carson City that gave their time and expertise to make a tough life situation better,” Michael said. “And thank you to our friends who volunteer their time and who helped arrange things while we were taking care of Steph in Colorado.”
And while the Schmidts know of some people to personally thank, they also understand there’s a large number of people and businesses that contributed in the background.
“We know there are so many people and businesses to thank for helping us and we wanted to make sure they all know how much we appreciate and thank them for what they did for us,” Michael said. “Thank you to all of the people who gave something to our family.
“There were lots of donations from the GoFundMe, the Douglas/Carson basketball game fundraiser, business fundraisers, the Cut-A-Thon at New U Salon. Lots of people donated food, cards, Visa cards… we appreciate all of the generosity that made our new lives go forward a little easier because of all of the businesses and friends.”
For the family, moving on is their main focus now.
“We can’t change what happened, so we just want to look forward and focus on moving forward,” Michael said. “Our future looks like this: we want her to be independent, to start driving, go to college and we will go from there.”
Stephanie is already back in school, still maintaining her honor student status and still living life like a normal teenager.
“My friends have been there every day for me, it is great to be back with them and in school,” Stephanie said. “They all treat me no differently and that is what I wanted.”