WALLINGFORD — Local business owner Kevin LaMay reunited with former employee Skylar Vumback earlier this week at Gaylord Hospital where she had been a patient after suffering a serious stroke several years ago.
LaMay and three teammates won the Gaylord Annual Golf Classic in June, besting 31 other teams. LaMay accepted the trophy at Gaylord Hospital Tuesday and was reunited with Vumback, who he last saw about a year ago.
“I actually saw her again today for the first time and told her she is welcome back anytime,” LaMay said. “She was always in a great mood. She was one of my best employees.”
In September 2015 Vumback suffered an AVM stroke, a brain bleed due to a tangle of blood vessels. Vumback, 18 at the time, was a busy student, taking five classes and working at K LaMay’s Steamed Cheeseburgers in Meriden and East Hampton.
Marilee Sarrazin, Vumback’s mother, said her daughter was in intensive care and rehabilitation for two months and outpatient treatment for a year.
“She basically had to relearn how to walk, talk, eat and dress herself,” she said.
Vumback saw the way that her occupational therapists took the time to teach her how to brush her teeth, take a shower and complete other basic tasks like brushing her hair and getting dressed.
“All that stuff that you would normally do but it was hard for me,” Vumback said.
LaMay said he had donated gift certificates for raffles to Gaylord Hospital in the past, but when his employee had a stroke, he felt an additional connection to the hospital. In March 2016, LaMay held a fundraiser to help Vumback with medical costs. LaMay continued his support of the hospital three years ago by participating in the golf tournament.
“I will continue to support Gaylord. Anything I can do,” LaMay said. “I’m looking forward (to) playing again next year.”
The treatment and care Vumback received from her occupational therapists prompted her to want to give back to others. Vumback, now 23, will soon begin taking classes at Goodwin College to become an occupational therapy assistant. She is excited to start school and one day hopefully work at Gaylord.
“This place is great. It’s helped so much,” Vumback said. “Now I want to help other people.”