Helping Hands

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:48

    WANTAGE-Paul Ordini, a Lafayette resident and local air show performer who was hospitalized and in a coma for several weeks following a June car crash in Wantage, continues to progress in his recovery and may be released from the hospital as soon as this weekend. Friends and family of Ordini came together this past Sunday at the Sussex Elks Lodge to raise money to assist his family with household expenses. Throughout the afternoon dozens of well wishers stopped by to enjoy music, food, and a few drinks. Most took the time to sign a poster that was later delivered to Ordini at the Kessler Rehabilitation Hospital in Chester. Cathy Wright, who is a friend of Ordini, organized the fundraiser. Wright called Ordini during the party to let him know he was missed and that, "all of his real friends were here." Wright said she was very pleased with both the turnout and the support of the community in general. Chef Frank Decker of the Fone Booth restaurant in Franklin cooked for the guests. After reading about the event in a previous Advertiser-News issue, owners of the Daredevil Deli in Wantage donated a six-foot sub. The outpouring of support took even some of the participants by surprise. Members of a local band, "Forever Alone," found out they had been volunteered after reading a newspaper article. A mutual friend of Ordini's and several band members had arranged for them to play. The band even strayed from their normal heavy metal orientation to treat Ordini's friends to Kiss cover tunes. Ordini had been severely injured in a June 8 car crash in Wantage. He suffered multiple internal injuries, including two collapsed lungs, lacerations to his spleen, kidneys, liver and pancreas. He also had several fractured ribs, a broken nose and a serious head injury, according to his wife Mary Ordini. "We almost lost him twice," she said. Now he is expected to make a full recovery, but will face a three-month regimen of physical therapy on an outpatient basis. "He's doing fabulous," said his wife, adding that Ordini still has his sense of humor and is motivated to recover. During his ordeal, the once-strapping pilot lost about forty pounds but is now gaining weight and strength back. He still has a feeding tube but that will be removed shortly. A tracheotomy tube was removed last week. One of Ordini's goals is to return to the air again. Mary Ordini said that her husband hopes to be able to attend next month's Sussex Airshow. Mary Ordini offered thanks to all who were concerned about her husband and said she was moved by the support. "I never expected it, and there are not enough words to describe how I feel," she said. She also praised her employers at Wal-Mart in Franklin. "They were great," she said. The store donated items for the event, and, "They told me take as much time off as I need." Ordini has been flying aerobatic routines for about fifteen years and has performed several times at the Sussex Airshow. He gained some notoriety as "Paul the Pilot" through appearances on the now defunct "Opie and Anthony," radio show. Ordini endeared himself to the raucous hosts by skywriting their slogan, "W.O.W," over Manhattan and soon became a frequent guest and friend of the show. He is also considered to be a leading expert on using Rotax snowmobile engines in aircraft.