Family, friends to host benefit for Joseph Dubreville; a man given a second chance at life
Joseph Dubreville, a Hamburg native, over the last few months has shown his family and friends how much determination he has to recover from an unfortunate incident.
It was a Sunday afternoon in May when Dubreville was playing tee-ball in his backyard with his family. He went to tag one of the kids out when the kid bumped into the temple on his head.
“It was just a one in a million spot on his head,” said Brian Firestone, a friend of Dubreville and Lancaster Police Officer. “An artery split in his brain and the blood pressure starting building up really bad. After 45 minutes, he went into a coma. The swelling on his head got extremely large. I would say his head was double the size it normally is.”
Dubreville was rushed to the ECMC emergency room where doctors had to relieve the pressure which was causing his brain to be pushed to one side of his head.
“He was in a coma for approximately a month and a half when the doctor finally registered him as being out of the coma,” said Firestone. “Basically, the doctor throughout the whole time was pretty doubtful of Joe coming out of the coma or having any ability to do anything. He said 90 percent of people that this accident happens to died at the scene.”
But Dubreville came out of the coma and he sustained the loss of the left side of his body. With rehabilitation, Dubreville began to improve every single day first with giving family and friends the “thumbs up” when they spoke to him and then eventually grabbing their hands.
After a period of time, Dubreville was accepted to the Chicago Major Brain Trauma Unit where he was moved by RV and accompanied by a doctor and nurse. It was extremely expensive, said Firestone. He spent a month or so out there working on his speech and writing abilities. It was also at this time the trach and feeding tube was removed.
“It was all baby steps,” remarked Firestone. “It was all stuff the doctors said he shouldn’t be doing; they were giving us no hope. But before he left he actually wrote my name on a piece of paper.”
To get home to Buffalo, Dubreville was flown for free by the Wings of Hope.
Firestone said Dubreville is now capable of having a conversation. He is currently in voice rehab and while the right side of his body moves well, he still has a low usage of his left side.
“It’s been amazing to see him constantly improving,” commented Firestone. “He definitely has a long road ahead of him, but he has fought through a lot of stuff. He is currently back home with his family in Hamburg where the rehabilitation continues.”
To give back to a man who has given so much to the Western New York community by coaching sports for many children, being a great father, friend, neighbor, co-worker and protector of our country, the “Friends of Joe Dubreville” are planning a fund-raiser from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, at Local 6 Iron Workers Hall, 196 Orchard Park Road, in West Seneca.
The purpose of this fund-raiser is to pay for Dubreville’s medical bills and equipment he may need for rehab. Any donations such as gift certificates, tickets, baskets, or any other items will be raffled off to help achieve their goal.
“Everything helps right now,” said Firestone.
There will also be food donated by Chef’s Restaurant, beverages, and live entertainment.
Firestone, who is also on the committee for the fund-raiser, said Dubreville, is extremely giving, caring, and a great friend to everyone that meets him.
“Everybody will always tell you this, he spreads himself out. He is incredible. His answer was always ‘yes, I will be over there to help you out,’” said Firestone.
Reflecting back on some memories of Dubreville, Firestone said he meet him in 2000 when he started working as a border patrol officer.
“Joe was one of the first guys I meet there and he took me under his wing and he showed me everything,” remarked Firestone. “We have done a lot of training together and got certified in a lot of things together.”
Firestone and Dubreville worked for U.S. Customs, before it was Homeland Security, and then Dubreville went on to get a job with ICE, a special agent of U.S. Customs. Then he became one of the supervisors of the ICE Agents.
“He wanted me to move that way and continue to work with him, but I got offered a job in Lancaster and it was something I always wanted to do, but we’ve stayed closed friends ever since then,” remarked Firestone.
For more information on donation drop off or pickup, call 535-6199. Monetary donations are being accepted and can be made at any First Niagara Bank in care of Joseph Dubreville Fund.