Classmates raise money to help recovering boy
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 1:00 PM
Robert Gaillet's path to recovery from a horrific car accident on the Natchez Trace has not been easy, but the strain on his family has been relieved, in some small way, by the help of Gaillet's friends at St. Andrew's.
Two classmates in particular, Mia Martinson and McKenzie Ellis, have stepped up and helped to raise funds to help the Gaillets pay the ever-mounting medical bills for Robert's care.
Martinson and Ellis, both seniors at St. Andrew's, put together a pancake breakfast, and rented out the local Applebees to host it. They sold tickets all over town, and recruited local businesses to sell them, too. When it came time for the morning of the breakfast, volunteers showed up to cook and serve the pancakes.
They also had jersey-like T-shirts made with "GAILLET" across the back, and sold them at the breakfast and at St. Andrews. They are still working on the logistics of hosting a "Fun Run" for the month of April to raise more money.
"We raised $7,000 from the pancake breakfast," said Martinson, the granddaughter of state Rep. Rita Martinson (R-Ridgeland). "We raised another $1,000 from the T-shirt sales. Our goal is $10,000, because we figured that much money would really help the family out."
Mia said she became friends with Robert's older sister Elizabeth, who graduated last year and attends Ole Miss, while they were both running cross country at St. Andrew's last year. She frequented the Gaillet home, which is notoriously far out in the country and got to know the family.
Seventeen-year-old St. Andrew's junior Robert Gaillet was traveling along the Natchez Trace on his way home from church on Nov. 18 of last year when an accident left him in critical condition at University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Since then, Fleet Feet Sports has held a run to raise money, and Robert's soccer team played an exhibition game against local coaches to help pay for the Gaillet's medical bills.
Martinson said it was important for her to do her part to try to help Robert and his family.
"The Gaillets have gone to my church since I was born, and they've had three children come through St. Andrews," she said. "I became very close with Elizabeth, and even though she goes to Ole Miss now and I don't see her as much, we are like sisters. They used to joke that I was the only one who would come over to the house because it is so far out in the country."
Dan Gaillet, Roberts father, is currently splitting his time between Biloxi, where he works as head of the city's public works department, and Jackson, where Robert has bounced from UMC to Methodist Hospital's Long Term Care Facility and back to UMMC again.
Gaillet served in the same capacity for the city of Jackson under former mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr., but resigned after the new Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who died in office last month, made it clear he wanted to take the department in another direction.
Gaillet said he usually leaves the coast on Friday and comes back Sunday evening.
"I try to spend as much time with him as I can," Gaillet said. "I had already made a commitment to come down here, but this city has been very understanding. It just got to the point where I had to go to work."
Robert remains in a comatose state, but he's made slow and steady progress toward regaining his motor skills.
Donations can be made at any BankPlus location in Mississippi.
The account is set up under the Mississippi Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. You will need the name on the account as well as the last four digits of the account number (shown below) Checks need to be made payable to: Robert W Gaillet, Daniel Gaillet custodian Account name: Daniel Gaillet Serving as custodian for Robert W Gaillet under the MUTMA Account Number: ******7589
The Madison branch is located at 2174 Main Street, Madison, MS 39110. There is also a branch at 758 S. Pear Orchard Roard, Ridgeland, MS 39157. Another Ridgeland branch is located at 1049 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157.
For details on his road to recovery, visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/robertgaillet.