What used to be a 15 minute trip to the bank now takes John Kampes about 40 minutes.
"It's crazy. The support I've gotten in this community has been crazy," said Kampes.
The trip takes longer because people stop Kampes to ask how he's doing.
Nearly six months ago, the morning of May 7, Kampes was in a serious motor vehicle accident. He was on Biggs Highway turning into the Chesapeake Bay Golf Club on Karen Drive when the van he was driving was struck twice by other vehicles. Kampes was wearing his seatbelt but it broke and he was ejected out the back of the van. His body struck and broke two rows of rear seats.
He sustained a broken back, broken neck, broke both legs, shattered his arm, dislocated his right shoulder, and broke numerous ribs. His tongue and vocal cords were paralyzed, which has impacted his voice. He has lost 50 pounds. He had a feeding tube and the normally graceful coach and athlete, stumbled over his own feet.
"I didn't move for four months but it's coming back. The doctor said my many years of fitness saved me," said Kampes.
For 16 years he has worked at the YMCA of Cecil County and is currently the associate executive director. Prior to that, he worked at the Providence School and West Nottingham Academy. He has also coached baseball at local high schools. He is also a coach for two Maryland Legends ball teams.
He was hospitalized for 22 days, much of that time in intensive care. He then went to a rehab facility for a month and continues therapy. Five months to the day after the accident, Kampes returned to work part time. He continues to build his strength and is working his way back to full time.
He said that was made possible by the community.
"I've had an overwhelming amount of support. I didn't know I had so many friends. The staff at the Y, Eddie Lynch and the Legends (ball club)," said Kampes. Friends set up a Go Fund Me account to help offset the medical bills. "A stranger from the mid west came across that and donated $500," said Kampes.
He and his wife, Dawn have two teen sons. People have helped the family.
Kampes said that in coaching, the staff works to teach the players and their families about community. "For months those kids and families brought meals for my family, they cleaned our house, and cut our grass," said Kampes. "What the Legends family and the YMCA family have done has been crazy and it's still going on." They also made sure that Kampes' sons didn't miss games, practices, or other activities.
He said he's impatient. He wants to get back to what he was before. "Nothing's quick enough for me. But I've been blessed. I can move my neck, I can walk. This is all due to a stroke of God, being in shape, and being lucky," he said.
Kampes lost his father, who had battled Alzheimer's for a dozen years, while he was recovering. He said he was lucky he got to say goodbye to the man who had long supported him.
"We had a lot of support with that too. My mom is so strong. She steered everyone through it," he said.
"To this day, people say to me 'I can't believe you're still here.' I have been unbelievably fortunate, extremely lucky," said Kampes.
He is also back to coaching. He is no longer able to yell, but he has a volunteer interpreter that's helping out until his vocal cords are repaired. He said he also shows the players to keep fighting no matter what the circumstances.
"It's just what you do. One day you wake up and your whole world changes. As a coach you tell them to reach for the stars and that becomes part of you," he said. "I've never taken anything for granted. I always took time to appreciate where I am in life. But you still think you're 20. You need to slow down and appreciate what you've got. My wife is my best friend. But I knew that before the accident."