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Benefit held to support blind GRCC student who was struck by a car last month

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Photo by Jason Babcock
A small memorial set up for Gala, Osman Koroma’s deceased guide dog.

By Jason Babcock

A banquet was held on April 5 in support of 23-year-old Osman Koroma, a blind Grand Rapids Community College student, who was hit by a car. The banquet featured a silent auction, as well as live musicians from around the area.

Osman Koroma (nicknamed Ozzie) and his guide dog, Gala, were hit by a car on March 19 near South Division and 56th street. Koroma is currently recovering from a broken leg and brain injury. Gala, a 3-year-old lab, was killed in the accident.

“He’s much better now than he was when he went to the hospital,” said Koroma’s sister and GRCC student Josephine Koroma. “The doctors say to expect a full recovery.”

When asked about Gala, the guide dog, she became solemn.

“They had a really close relationship. They went everywhere together, there was usually only once or twice a week where they were not together,” she said.

The banquet was hosted by the Indian Trails Camp, and procedes went to help Koroma’s recovery, and also to help his favorite charity, Opportunities for the Blind. Gwen Botting helped put the event together.

“This camp is about 60 years old. They have always been a camp for children with developmental and physical disabilities. Some of the kids are really involved. They run summer camps for kids as well,” Botting said.

“Ozzie was here for our very first event here,” she said. “It was called Snow Much fun, they were all out here sledding on cardboard sled’s, it was a blast.”

Koroma had originally planned the event himself as a charity banquet and gathering for the kids. “When Ozzie got hurt, we changed the banquet to have a dual purpose,” Botting said.