St. Joe, MI officer gives his bike to crash victim in need
After totaling his bike and seriously injuring himself in an accident in February, Kevin Tate got a huge surprise this week from one of the St. Joe, MI officers who helped save him.
“You can have it!” said Sgt. Jason Yonker, in a cellphone video recorded this past Tuesday.
“Wow,” said Tate.
“And it’s in a little better shape than what yours is,” said Yonker.
“I really appreciate it!” said Tate.
It was this video that helped form an unlikely friendship between Sgt. Yonker and Tate.
The 19-year veteran of the St. Joe Department of Public Safety gave Tate, 27, his bicycle last Tuesday.
“I’ve had the bike for several years,” said Sgt. Yonker. “I haven’t ridden it a lot. I felt as though [Kevin] would get a lot more use out of it than I could.”
Tate’s original bike was destroyed in a bad accident on February 22.
It happened on the corner of M-63 and Momany Drive in St. Joe.
Kevin was riding to Whirlpool Corporation to check in on a job application when his brakes failed.
He crashed into the side of a passing SUV, leaving two large dents with his body.
He was knocked out cold.
“Everybody thought that I was going to be gone, even including myself,” said Tate.
He suffered a brain injury from the crash, but miraculously recovered in the last few weeks.
He came home to Benton Harbor on Monday, March 27, and immediately reached out to Sgt. Yonker to get his only means of transportation back.
But Tate’s bike was beyond repair.
“When you see someone that needs help – that’s one of the reasons I do this job,” said Sgt. Yonker. “In fact, that’s probably the main reason I do this job, is to help people.”
So Tate got a new bike on Tuesday.
And Sgt. Yonker followed up on Friday to deliver a brand new helmet.
“I was actually looking at one of these at Walmart!” said Tate, as he held the helmet.
The two now plan to stay in touch.
They hope to build on a bond that Tate said both surprised him and restored his faith.
“It was literally a sign that there are good people out here,” said Tate.