HORN LAKE, MS (WMC) - In a matter of weeks, two members of the Horn Lake Fire Department were seriously injured while riding motorcycles.
The most recent accident involved Gene Riley, a driver with the Horn Lake Fire Department.
His fiancée McKenzie Sides said he's ridden motorcycles all his life and it's something he's very comfortable with.
She said he's hardworking, a family man, and a wonderful dad.
"He was like, 'if something were to ever happen to me just know that I love y'all," Sides said.
Those words were some of the last Sides heard her fiancé say Sunday night before he was involved in a motorcycle accident.
"I'm just so glad that it's not worse and he's still here honestly," Sides said.
Sides never thought 39-year-old Riley would be on this side of the call. He's worked as a driver with the fire department for more than five years and is often the one responding to accidents.
Nearly a month ago, Riley responded to a call for one of his own men.
"Our employees did work him on that scene, so it takes a huge emotional toll as far as working on one of our own," said Horn Lake Battalion Chief Greg Scruggs.
Kenny Wilson, 26, is a firefighter medic with the department and was also in a motorcycle accident.
Riley and Wilson knew each other and had ridden their bikes together before. Wilson is still in the hospital recovering from his injuries.
"Shook him up really good," Sides said. "He hasn't even rode, maybe one time since that wreck, and so yesterday was one of the first few times that he's rode his motorcycle since then."
Now, the Horn Lake community is coming together to support these two families.
"We're not going to leave anybody high and dry," Chief Scruggs said. "We're all family and we take care of our own."
Sides said Riley severely injured his left leg, but doctors were able to do surgery Monday morning. She's hopeful after a long recovery and some therapy that he should recover well.
Horn Lake Fire Chief David Linville said he plans to ask the members of his department to stop riding motorcycles.
He said if they can't hang up their helmets, he's going to ask them to at least not drive when it gets dark.
Alyssa Wilson's injuries include a broken leg and two broken arms. But the wife of firefighter Kenny Wilson said her spirit isn't broken.
"Seeing him go through this is hard, but I mean, the support of our family and all that, it's getting better every day," Alyssa said.
Alyssa was riding on the back of her husband's motorcycle in early August when they got into an accident.
"It took him forever to actually get me on it and so it was a big deal for him," Alyssa said. "He'd always get in the garage and clean it and always working on it."
Alyssa said Kenny has a traumatic brain injury from the crash.
"We don't know what brain damage he actually has right now," Alyssa said. "We won't know until he officially can tell us or show us."
Alyssa said her husband of three years loved his job as a firefighter and paramedic with the Horn Lake Fire Department.
Nearly a month after Wilson's accident, Riley was involved in his motorcycle accident, and Alyssa still can't believe the coincidence of it all.
She said she's thankful their first responder family is offering support.
"We are doing our best to take care of Kenny and his family and his dealings with all of what needs to be taken care of and since Gene's was last night, we're going to be working on getting all his stuff taken care of as best we can," Scruggs said.
The Horn Lake Fire Department and other community organizations are hosting several events and benefits to raise money for both Kenny Wilson and Gene Riley.
The first will be a poker run Sunday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m.
The second and third events will take place next month at Station 3, located at 6363 Highway 301. On Friday, Oct. 5, the department will host a fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. by selling hot dogs and hamburgers.
Raffle tickets will be available for purchase, and a drawing will take place on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Raffle tickets will be available on Saturday as well, and all donations are welcome.
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