Family and friends gathered at a near-standing room only East Elkin Baptist Church cafeteria on Saturday evening for a benefit dinner helping to raise money for one of their own that was critically injured in a serious car accident.
On March 5, a silver Grand Prix traveling northbound on U.S. 21 allegedly veered off left of center and collided with McCree Wilson Gentry, Jr.’s black Dodge Intrepid heading southbound, police stated.
Gentry and the other driver were seriously injured in the crash and were rushed to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.
Gentry remained at Baptist Hospital for an entire month.
“He suffered a broken back, 13 broken ribs, a ruptured sternum, a broken left arm, his left foot was crushed, and his left hip was severely injured,” said Scottie Gentry, wife of Gentry.
Gentry, who is best known to many in the community as ‘Smoke’, was transferred to U Pac in Elkin on April 5 to continue with his long road toward recovery.
At the church dinner, it was business as usual with chicken dinner lines moving as quickly as they could be prepared.
“The ladies and the members of the church came together to see to it that the family gets 100 percent of the money raised by the dinner ticket,” said church volunteer Emily Morrison of Elkin. “We are so excited. We have sold so far over 200 tickets and so many other people have entered who didn’t have a ticket to buy a dinner.”
Dinners were sold for $8 per plate.
“We purchased dinner on-the-go from the benefit,” said Elkin resident Sherry Macy, who learned about the accident from her son Ryan, a student at Elkin Middle School.
Inside the church, most guests eating chicken and volunteering for the benefit were unaware that Smoke would attempt his first public appearance since the accident.
Many made chatter, wondering how a man was lucky enough to even survive the accident.
However, with the support from the staff at Elkin Fire Rescue, which transported Smoke from U Pac to the church, Smoke made his appearance.
“I have no memory of any of it. I couldn’t tell you what I was doing before or after,” Smoke told The Tribune.
An emotional Smoke said he was grateful to be alive, and with tears coming down both sides of his face, he gave thanks to the community for being there, the help of all involved in saving his life, his family, and especially to his wife.
“This is Scottie, so you know. I can’t say enough about her,” he said about his wife, who was nearby crying.
“He has been making great progress,” said Scottie. “It’s been a long road for him and the family. At first, we were mortified after the accident. We were afraid and had a sense of terror.”
Scottie is not sure how long her husband may need to recover, but that doesn’t stop the bills from piling up.
A fund is currently held in the Yadkin Valley Bank on Bridge Street in Elkin. “Donations are appreciated,” said Scottie.
“I guess our message is that despite the fear and the overwhelming challenges facing someone during their darkest hour, recovery is possible,” she said.
Surrounded by family, the man of honor entered the cafeteria to thunderous applause.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.