Brodhead bowling fundraiser aims to help family devastated by accident

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Sunday, April 3, 2011
— Cody Spooner brought his mom’s old bowling ball to the fundraiser.

Mom had loved bowling, he said.

For a second, a smile lit up Spooner’s face. It came and went quickly, but it was one of those smiles that makes a person feel better to see it.

Spooner and his little brother, Clay, spent Saturday afternoon bowling with family and friends at Cardinal Lanes in Brodhead. The event was a fundraiser for the boys and their older sister, Kaitlin.

The siblings’ parents, Doug and Cindy Spooner, both 40, of Brodhead, died March 5 as the result of a two-car crash in rural Brodhead. The driver of the other car, Penny L. Sprague, 40, of Brodhead, died at the scene of the crash. Clay, 12, was badly injured in the crash.

He came home Friday for the first time after a stay at American Family Childrens Hospital, Madison.

Clay was the cheerful center of attention during Saturday’s event. His red T-shirt bore the phrase, “Bow Down to me, peasants,” something Clay was fond of running around the house shouting, Cody said.

The back of Clay’s T-shirt said, “King Spooner.” Cody, 18, did the funny British accent when he explained his little brother’s joke.

For the most part, Clay looks and sounds no different than he did before the accident, Cody said.

“He’s still goofy and stuff,” Cody said. “When he talks, you don’t even know anything happened.”

Clay’s right wrist and arm were broken in several places and are encased in a neon pink cast. Many bones in his face were broken, and he wears a bandage over a tracheotomy incision.

Clay had only one complaint about his injuries.

Bowling was “pretty hard” because he had to use his left hand, Clay said. However, having newspaper and TV reporters come to your bowling party was “pretty sweet,” he said.

Clay uses a wheelchair and can’t stand for more than a few seconds. Frame after frame, he stood at the end of the lane and rolled the bowling ball one-handed.

As time went on, Cody held on to the back of his brother’s T-shirt to keep him steady.

Starting this week, a tutor could come to the house to work with Clay for a few hours, Cody said. Eventually, Clay could start going back to school and hopefully will finish out seventh grade in Brodhead, he said.

Clay’s strong, energetic appearance is a little deceiving, said the siblings’ aunt Lisa Cleary of Brooklyn. He has a lot of healing and therapy ahead of him and must be careful not to play too rough, she said.

Cleary still is trying to wrap her head around the fact that her sister and brother-in-law are gone. Such a tragedy is one of those things you always think happens to other families, she said. It’s left the Spooner siblings having to make adult decisions and live in adult situations, Cleary said.

What’s next for the kids isn’t totally clear, Cody said. He is a student at UW-Rock County and in August will leave for basic training for the Army Reserve.

He likes caring for the family’s herd of Simmental cattle. But it’s not what he planned on doing for work.

It’s nothing new to Cody to care for 50 head of cows and their new spring calves. But planning for next year is more of a mystery.

Doug carried the breeding plan for the herd in his head. He knew it forward and back, Cody said.

“We’d be in the truck and he’d be talking about some cow’s daughter or another,” Cody said. “He was pretty special. He knew his stuff.”

So did Cindy, who loved her career as a veterinary technician and loved animals in general, Cody said.

He has been amazed at the number of people in the last four weeks he has met who knew his parents and have stepped forward in kindness.

“They’d be grateful,” Cody said of his mom and dad.

Cleary agreed and asked that people keep the family in their thoughts and prayers.

“We need that more than anything.”

Last updated: 5:04 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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