BEACHWOOD – Longtime Beachwood Councilman Gerry LaCrosse, owner of the popular Der Wunder Wiener, has no plans to retire.
“Not for me,” he said in an interview with The Berkeley Times.
LaCrosse suffered grievous injuries on June 11, when an SUV veered off busy Route 9 and slammed into his popular hot dog stand on Route 9 South in Bayville. He was inside the stand when the accident occurred. His business was destroyed.
Ironically, the stand was typically closed on Mondays. LaCrosse had only stopped by to drop off some items for the rest of the week.
LaCrosse spent weeks in the intensive care unit of Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune after the accident. He had more than one surgery to stop severe bleeding and had to have his spleen removed. He also had head and intestinal injuries.
He wants to reopen his famous business sometime next year, but it may take a little longer than he planned on because his right shoulder has to be replaced.
“It’s a constant thing,” he said of his shoulder pain. “It’s not going to go away for a long time. I’m Tylenol’s best customer.”
The 75 year old wants to reopen to thank his former customers and all of the people who have donated to various fundraisers and a GoFundMe account to help him with expenses since the accident that destroyed his business.
“I owe it to them and I owe it to myself,” he said. “I’m not going to let those injuries take me out of the picture. I’m too much of a fighter for that.”
For the past few months, LaCrosse has been undergoing intense physical therapy to help rebuild the muscles around his damaged shoulder, to prepare for his Dec. 3 surgery.
When he reopens his stand, he wants everyone who supported him to sign a piece of wood that will be used in the new store.
The fundraisers held by local police departments and emergency management services and his GoFundMe account saved his life, LaCrosse said
“That was my lifeline,” he said. “There is no way I could have made it.”
The three-day fundraiser was held in July by the Berkeley P.B.A. 237 and the Beachwood Pine Beach P.B.A. They cooked hot dogs, cheesesteaks and all of the other items LaCrosse cooked at his stand.
As of early this week, $11,764 out of a $15,000 goal has been raised by 246 people since the accident. If you would like to donate, visit gofundme.com/gerald-lacrosse039s-huge-losshelp.
And soon both he and his wife Beverly will be partners in recovery, duking it out for the Tylenol. She is slated to have a knee replacement in December.