Community rallies around injured rower

Jan 17, 2020

The South Coast community has come together after Marion resident Hannah Strom was seriously injured in an accident in Florida on Jan. 15, when a pick-up truck collided with the van in which she and her rowing teammates were traveling.

Strom is a 2018 graduate of Tabor Academy, and a sophomore at Holy Cross, where she studies psychology and competes with the women’s rowing team. Her parents, Thomas and Gail Strom, are the owners of Kool Kone.

The team was on a winter training trip in Vero Beach, Florida, when the van Strom was riding in with six of her teammates and a coach was struck head-on by a pick-up truck. The crash left one teammate, 20-year-old Grace Rett, dead. 

In a press conference on Thursday, Dr. Jason Moore, a trauma surgeon at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center where the victims are being treated, said all the victims are expected to survive, despite suffering serious — and in some cases life-threatening — injuries.

Strom is still hospitalized in Florida, and her family has flown to be by her side.

Back on the South Coast, the community is rallying to support Strom and her family.

On the Go in Mattapoisett will be donating 15% of all sales today, Jan. 17, to the Strom family.

“Our prayers go out to the Strom family and to all the other families involved,” a Facebook post from the restaurant said. 

The Friends of Jack Foundation will be matching the donation from On the Go.

“The Strom family has been a strong supporter of the Friends of Jack Foundation's Food for Tots program and a friend to many on our Board. We pray for Hannah and all involved,” the Foundation wrote. “We will be here for any needs the Strom's may have. Should you want to help please reach out to us via Facebook and we'll be happy to help facilitate. Hug your loved ones tight tonight and keep Hannah and the others involved in your thoughts and prayers.”

The Stroms’ own Kool Kone will also be collecting donations towards Hannah Strom’s care.

In a post on Facebook, a Kool Kone employee wrote that jars will be set out all day Friday for “anyone who would like to help this amazing family, who has done so much for other families.”

“It’s been busy since the moment we opened,” said Kool Kone employee Bella Valatkevicz.

“[Strom] is the sweetest human being,” Valatkevicz said. “She puts everyone before herself. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.”

Valatkevicz said that the Stroms are the best family, making the crash and Strom’s injuries especially heartbreaking.

Andrew Daniel stopped by Kool Kone for lunch after hearing the news. 

“They always help the community in different ways,” Daniel said of the Strom family, noting Kool Kone’s particular support of the Boy Scouts.

Sandy Slavin stopped by to support the Stroms.

“I just hope everybody recovers and can return to the sport they love,” Slavin said.