PARKERSBURG - A benefit concert is being held at First United Methodist Church to help a serviceman from Parkersburg who was injured in Italy.
The concert on Sept. 8 is to raise money to help Air Force Staff Sgt. Alex Mace, injured in a mountain biking accident this summer, with his recovery bills.
The concert will feature the Mid-Ohio Valley Ringers, a community handbell choir. Jean Singer, former choir director at Parkersburg High School, will lead a community choir and a quartet from First United Methodist.
Staff Sgt. Alex Mace and his father, David Mace, at the hospital in Udine, Italy.
Stationed at Aviona Air Force Base in Italy, Mace, 29, survived a 10-foot vertical fall off a mountain biking trail.
Mace attended Heritage Christian School in Torch, Ohio, and went into the military upon his graduation in 2001.
According to Mace's father, David Mace, the accident occurred on June 24. He said his son fell and landed 20 feet off the trail, diving nose first and taking all of the impact with his bicycle when he hit the ground.
Mace suffered multifractures to his left forearm, two broken elbows, injuries to his kidneys, broken left ribs, a collapsed lung, a laceration to his liver and a contusion on his brain.
Doctors said the aorta of his heart had been dissected in the crash. The impact of hitting the ground was so forceful it tore the artery, and the inner wall was not allowing blood to flow through his heart and body.
Mace's parents, David and Cathy Mace, give all their thanks to God and the community for the outpouring of love and kindness through the traumatic experience of their son's accident. The couple has lived in Parkersburg for the past 35 years.
"We give God all the glory for it. God put everything together, the team of surgeons. He gave them the wisdom and abilities to do the right thing," said David. "People, our family, our friends, everyone, have been more than kind and gracious."
Alex Mace's stepson, Brandon, 13, was with him at the time of the accident, along with a few friends the family met upon moving to Italy in April. His parents visited Mace through the efforts of the Air Force and American Red Cross.
Cathy Mace said she and her husband were not prepared to travel overseas in a moment's notice for an emergency. The pair had to wait 24 hours to leave because of storms and getting a passport.
"I would like to be able to ask all parents who have a child in any branch of the military to get their passports immediately," she said. "You never know. We didn't think we would be traveling over there until next summer. It just would have saved so much heartache."
Mace's sister, Amanda Mace-Philpott of Parkersburg, will be singing at the benefit concert for her brother. All donations will go to the family for expenses.
"I've been singing my whole life," said Mace-Philpott. "I sing with a band in town and at church, too."
The band is called The Janes, which will be singing at the benefit.
"I'm so grateful, excited and hopeful," said Mace-Philpott. "We're just thankful to have this to celebrate him."
Mace-Philpott immediately took to Facebook for help with her brother's recovery. She started a page dedicated to her brother called "Prayers for Alex Mace."
There were about 1,300 followers of the page in the first 48 hours. There are now 1,335 members of the group, and the prayers are still coming in, even though it has been determined Mace will make a full recovery.
"It was total elation," David Mace said of learning about his son's recovery. "We were praising God because we knew it was only because of Him; whenever you're not given much of a chance there's only one other explanation for it."
The concert of patriotic music, hymn tunes, vocals and handbells will take place at 4 p.m. Sept. 8 at First United Methodist Church, 1001 Juliana St. in Parkersburg. The concert is being organized by Jane Irvine and Jean Singer.