Helping ‘One of Our Own’, Vinny Sapochetti

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 05/23/2012

I’ve often looked around the room at bereavement receptions (and ‘Irish Wakes’) and thought, “It’s too bad we couldn’t get all of these people together when (_______) was alive to show and tell him/her how much we loved them.” They’re often raucous, nostalgic affairs that the deceased would have loved. Laudatory obituaries elicit a similar response.

One of my best friends from High School, Jim Crocker, survived a horrific car accident a few years ago, after which he was airlifted to the hospital. At a fundraiser several months after the accident, Jim rolled up to the microphone in a wheelchair in front of a packed house, and greeted his family and many friends with, “If I knew I could get all of you together in one room I would have done this a long time ago.” Jim has since returned to work, and made an almost-full recovery.

Vinny Sapochetti is a very lucky man. First, he survived a terrifying car accident on April 20th, and second, he has a lot of family members, co-workers, friends, and customers who care about him and love him very much. Many of his friendships are a result of his work at several Boston area restaurants, including Chili’s( 😎 ), Oran Mor (Nantucket), Papa Razzi, The Four Seasons, Upstairs on the Square, No. 9 Park, The Butcher Shop, Toro, and for the last 5 years, Neptune Oyster in The North End of Boston.

I asked Vinny’s Neptune Oyster family for some adjectives to describe him. They chimed in with, special, crazy, knowledgeable, big-hearted, funny, frequently requested (by Neptune customers), smart, smart-ass, loyal, warm, talented, opinionated, hard-working, fun-loving, dedicated, determined, and simply unforgettable.

To me, Vinny is mischievous, wry, irreverent, charming, hospitable, and a damn good guy.

Vinny has a very long road ahead of him. After suffering a traumatic brain injury from his accident, he is currently undergoing speech, occupational, and physical therapy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. I stopped by Spaulding yesterday, but was advised by Vinny’s nurse not to visit with him because he was a bit anxious following a therapy session. The nurse was optimistic about the prospects for Vinny’s long-term recovery, but she emphasized that he was still in the early stages of a very lengthy process.

The Boston restaurant community is one of the closest-knit communities I have ever known or been part of. Once again, lead by Vinny’s Neptune Oyster family, we are coming together to support one of our own. Those of us who love and care about Vinny have a unique opportunity to demonstrate our support for him at a fundraiser on Monday night, Memorial Day, May 28th. The event will be a tremendous evening out, and the proceeds will go directly to preserving the home and life that Vinny is so proud of, and to (literally) help Vinny get back on his feet and back to work at Neptune.

No one is exempt. This could happen to any one of us.

Whether you can attend or not, please consider helping Vinny by clicking on the link below.

Thank you very much for your consideration, and please help spread the word.

If you would like to follow Vinny’s progress, please subscribe to the site below:

Please feel free to share your stories about Vinny and wish him well in the comments below.

Thank you very much.

Update, 6/11/2012: The event for Vinny raised more than 60K. Truly stunning.

A message from Vinny’s parents:

Vincent has been blessed with his friends. We are heartened by your outpouring of affection and concern. It is difficult to make a definite prognosis with a traumatic brain injury. However, Vincent’s doctors and therapists are very hopeful for an excellent recovery based on his rapid and continuous improvement.

Vincent has had the best care available. If this horrific accident had to occur, proximity to Mass General and Spaulding was certainly lucky. Perhaps he was overly zealous with his constant working out at the gym. Or maybe as couch potatoes we were jealous. His frdige was crammed with flaxseed, quarts of green slimy stuff, special water and almond milk. We’re thankful that this was his regimen, because that will, along with the best medical care, his superb physical condition, and all of his wonderful friends, allow his continued progress.

Vincent’s father, Dan and I are having difficulty expressing the full extent of our gratitude. Vincent holds you close to his heart, and now we do as well.

Beverley and Dan Sapochetti 


2 Responses to “Helping ‘One of Our Own’, Vinny Sapochetti”

  1. Cindy Sapochetti says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post.

    I love all the adjectives – each one is spot on!

    To say the Boston restaurant community is close knit is putting it mildly. The support you all have given Vinny and our family has been nothing short of awesome. Thanks to all of you.

    Looking forward to the day when he can thank you in his own irrepressible and unforgettable style.

  2. Dr. Hank says:

    There’s a positive correlation between rate of recovery from TBI, precise adherence to treatment (speech, PT, OT, etc.) and degree and type of emotional and social supports. The brain is highly plastic (flexible goo) and compensates across borders. Visits to say “Hi’ are high impact and significantly affect recovery. One thought – timing a visit can be tough (i.e patient “readiness”), so bring a card with a note and a pen. Then, if you can’t see buddy, date and time your pre-written note w/phone or e-mail. Ask if you can leave with spiritual care dept. for delivery. Nurses are good, too. No one is exempt.

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