By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — A restored 1976 Harley-Davidson FLH sits parked outside Bruce “Jake” Gibbs Jr.’s home.
For Gibbs, 40, it’s motivation to get back on the bike and return to the lifestyle he embraced two decades ago.
But for his girlfriend, Vic Jenkins, it’s a painful reminder of Aug. 9, 2011, when Gibbs was struck while riding his Harley and lost his left leg.
“It’s hard to look at,” Jenkins said, gazing at the motorcycle refurbished by Gibbs’ friends.
It hasn’t been as easy for Gibbs to put his life back together.
He was hospitalized for six weeks following the accident and underwent 11 surgeries resulting in his leg being amputated just above the knee.
This spring Gibbs nearly died when a fall caused him to break several ribs, puncture his lung and lead to internal bleeding. He’s often confined to a wheel chair because of problems with an ill-fitting prosthetic leg.
Gibbs was denied disability benefits because he’s considered able to work, though he said no one wants to hire him because “people look at me as an insurance risk.”
The father of two grown children who has held a job since he was 16 and was employed at an area modular home manufacturing plant at the time of the accident now relies on the help of family and friends, like Trish Salter, of Selinsgrove.
All of them are left wondering how the driver responsible for Gibbs’ life-altering injury was able to do what he no longer can: walk away from the accident without any consequences.
Read more of this story in Sunday's edition of The Daily Item.