As all of you that don’t live under a rock know, the St. Louis start-up scene is growing by leaps and bounds. For me, the face of the St. Louis start-up community is Ed Domain.
Ed came to St. Louis from Chicago last year in the first wave of Arch Grant recipients. His company, Techli, covers the Midwest start-up, entrepreneurial and technology scene. Think of it as a Midwest-focused TechCrunch. I got the chance to go to many of his early Techli events. Ed brought together various members of the start-up community to listen to speakers, share ideas and get feedback on those ideas. These events introduced me to some great people and companies. I even got to speak at one of them about my various web endeavors, although I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a very big highlight considering the woman behind EverPurse spoke at one of the events.
The way I see it, Ed Domain is exactly why the Arch Grants program was created. He’s a man with a great product who was lured to downtown St. Louis by the program. He embraced his new community and sought to make it better than before he arrived. When the finalists for this year’s Arch Grant awards came to town, Ed was the one showing them around this city that he has come to love.
On May 5th, St. Louis failed Ed Domain. It wasn’t anything really the city did, but a tragic event happened to Ed just south of Downtown that will change his life for years to come. Ed is a friend of mine and a great person. This will not define him, it will not keep him from achieving his goals.
Around lunchtime on May 5th, Ed was riding in a taxi with two friends when they were involved in a violent car crash. What happened? The driver transporting Ed’s party apparently failed to use basic common sense and stop at the red light. This of course was most likely because he was looking at his cell phone while barreling towards the intersection. The result of his actions? He walks away relatively fine. Ed’s two friends sustain moderate injuries. Ed is seriously hurt, however; shattered pelvis, a shoulder that will require major surgery and several other serious injuries. Ed hasn’t left a hospital bed since being brought to the emergency room on May 5th. He will be in a rehabilitation facility for several months awaiting another major surgery. After that? More rehabilitation before he can get back to his pre-accident life.
It wasn’t anything the city of St. Louis necessarily did that caused this tragic event to happen. However, it did happen in our city. Just like when an act of violence happens within the city limits, it wasn’t anything you or I did, but it still pains all of us that love St. Louis. While we can’t rewind time and make the taxi driver to stop at the red light, we can help the situation moving forward. A fund has been set up to help Ed financially through these times. As of this writing, it’s up to an incredible $7,440 of the $10,000 goal. 83 people from around the country have donated to help cover the various expenses that have and will continue to be incurred.
If not financially, how can you help? I’m sure I speak for Ed when I challenge you to do what you can to stomp out this inconsiderate act of texting while driving. One study found that in 2010, 3,092 vehicular deaths could be attributed to texting while driving. That number surely has gone up in the years since. Start by personally stopping this practice. If you are reading this post, I bet that you’ve done this yourself, even if you thought you were being safe about it. It only takes a second for your life to change forever. Next, challenge those around you not to text and drive. If you’re riding in a car, don’t let the driver text. If you’re in a taxi like Ed and his friends were, tell the driver that if he insists on looking at his phone instead of the road, you will gladly find an alternative way home.
Ed’s situation is something that could have easily happened to you or I. Keep Ed and his family in your prayers, consider donating to the YouCaring fund and do your part to keep others safe by putting a stop to this dangerous practice. Do it not just to show that you care about yourself, do it because you care about those around you.
With time, patience and a whole lot of heart, the next time you see Ed Domain will be on a television screen in the next episode of this. . . .
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