July 28, 2010 | 08:48 AM
Genoa City — The night of Thursday, July 8, is one Joelle Duros likely won't forget.
That night, she was out in Lake Geneva with Ryan Keller, a 24-year-old Genoa City man and good family friend.
"I went home and, early Friday morning, my brother called me," Duros said. "I heard that Ryan was driving home from downtown Lake Geneva late Thursday night and he hit a telephone pole. It was a bad accident. They took him by Flight For Life because he was really bad, in critical condition. Actually, we weren't sure if he was going to make it."
Neither were the majority of Keller's 524 Facebook friends, several of whom posted their well wishes on his profile moments after word spread about the accident.
According to the town of Bloomfield police report, Keller struck the pole at about 10:20 p.m. after his 1991 Ford Explorer left the roadway of Highway H north of Darling Road. It is believed the Explorer struck a driveway culvert and overturned prior to the collision.
To make matters worse, downed power lines entangled the vehicle, which was found on its driver's side. Keller was trapped inside the vehicle. Members of the Bloomfield-Genoa City Fire and Rescue Department couldn't extricate Keller from the vehicle until after Alliant Energy employees removed the power lines at about 11:20 p.m.
Keller remains in a coma at Froedtert Memorial Hospital, Milwaukee.
That's why Duros is organizing a benefit for the Keller family Sunday, Aug. 1, starting at 3 p.m. at Veterans Park. The nonalcoholic event will feature raffles, food and live music from several area bands.
"I was talking with my mom about ways we could help and I knew the instant I saw all the people on his Facebook profile, how concerned everyone was, that an event like this obviously was appropriate," she said.
Duros said Keller is well-known throughout the community. She expects 300 people to attend Sunday, and bands such as The Stumes and The Futurists are confirmed to play the event. She said Keller's cousin, Eric, is a member of The Futurists. Other bands which include musicians Keller knows have expressed an interest in performing.
But the event had humble beginnings. She said initially, it was going to be something on the property at her Bloomfield Township residence.
"I didn't think there was going to be nearly as many people who would show up," Duros said.
As far as the planning is concerned, she said it's going smoothly. Other individuals, groups and businesses have been donating items for what Duros called the "main event" of the benefit — the raffle.
"I've been through all of downtown Lake Geneva, all of Genoa City and a few places in Delavan and Williams Bay, collecting raffle items," she said.
Duros said she believes everyone has been so supportive because of Keller's personality.
"Ryan's well-known, plus he's one of the most lively, outgoing people I've ever met," she said.
According to Duros, Ryan and his brother, Ethan, have been close friends with her family since they were children. She said Ryan's "like a brother to me." She expects he would go to the lengths she is for him were the tables turned.
"Ryan is one of the most caring and loving guys I know," Duros said. "He's always cheering up his friends when they're upset and he's always been there for me."