SALT LAKE CITY — Friends of a Murray firefighter injured in a motorcycle crash are asking the community to show thanks for his years of service by contributing to a crowdfunding effort to help with medical bills.
Jeff Ellis and his son were riding their motorcycles up Parleys Canyon on Nov. 15 when Ellis clipped a rumble strip on a curve and crashed, family friend Shawn Winder said.
Since then, Ellis has been in intensive care at University Hospital. It is just the beginning of what Ellis says is expected to be a long and difficult recovery.
"His injuries are significant, and his recovery from this incident is going to be long and it's going to be costly," Winder said.
"I would just ask that people would reach out, help this family that has so incredibly served the citizens of Salt Lake County," she added.
Ellis was rushed into emergency surgery for internal bleeding after the crash. He was left with more than 20 broken bones, three bleeds in his brain and multiple injuries to his lungs, abdomen and face, Winder said.
"I will say, with the response of the Unified Fire Authority members who came that day, their timely and quick response truly did save Jeff," she noted.
Supporters, who have dubbed themselves "Team Ellis," launched a YouCaring campaign Sunday, asking for $50,000 to help the family. The effort raised nearly $5,000 in its first few hours.
Ellis, who has served for more than 30 years and is a battalion chief and training officer with the Murray Fire Department, isn't the only firefighter in the family. His wife is Martha Ellis, the first woman to hold the rank of battalion chief in the Salt Lake City Fire Department, where she has worked for 22 years.
And his oldest daughter is pursuing a firefighting career in another state.3 comments on this story
"This couple has provided incredible service to all of our citizens in Salt Lake County for 50-plus years (combined)," Winder said. "This family needs the community to come forward and help support them."
Martha Ellis made headlines when she raised concerns of sexual discrimination and harassment within the Salt Lake City Fire Department. She was demoted shortly after going public with the allegations but filed a lawsuit claiming the reprimand was retaliation for whistle-blowing.
Contributing: Nicole Vowell