AUGUSTA — Augusta Police Chief Robert Gregoire’s ongoing battle to regain full mobility after a motorcycle crash last year got another injection of community support Wednesday from the families and students of St. Michael School.

The school, which has pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students, hosted a basketball game Friday against the Augusta Police Department to raise money for the chief.

On Wednesday, Gregoire was handed a check for more than $2,000 by Bishop Robert Deeley of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

“He’s holding on,” Deeley told the assembled students, parents and staff members before presenting the check to Gregoire. “He’s very tenacious in making himself whole again.”

Gregoire suffered a spinal cord injury in his neck in September when the motorcycle he and his wife, Cathy Gregoire, were riding during a charity event crashed in Jay. Cathy Gregoire suffered a broken ankle.

Gregoire spent several weeks recovering at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. He returned home at the end of November and returned to work in January.

The chief, who has been able to wean himself off some of the equipment set up in his office to help him perform his duties, said he continues to get regular physical therapy and sees daily improvement, including increased feeling and movement in his feet.

Gregoire is squeezing therapy in between his full-time duties with the department, and he said the community’s support has gone a long way to encourage his resolve to return to full mobility.

“I know that I’ve made some gains, but it’s not just the work I have done,” Gregoire told the assembly. “It’s been from the well-wishes, the thoughts and the prayers from the community that has made it easier for me to make great strides in my recovery.”

His comments elicited a prolonged standing ovation.

St. Michael alumni and friends on Friday played members of the Augusta and Waterville police departments. The annual game, dubbed Saints vs. The Law, began last year. Gregoire was the captain of The Law team.

“I played last year for this event, and this year it was for me,” Gregoire said. “It’s kind of odd.”

St. Michael Principal Kevin Cullen noted that students are in the midst of observing Lent, which is a reminder of the importance of helping others.

He said in the past few months the students have helped prepare Thanksgiving baskets for the Salvation Army and hosted a fundraiser for families burned out of their homes by a December fire.

“All of us have the opportunity to help each other all over the world,” Cullen said. “I’m very proud of all of you. I’m very proud of this school.”

The check presentation was planned to coincide with Deeley’s visit. He said he told the students there was a lot they could learn from Gregoire’s determination and courage.

Deeley said he had followed Gregoire’s progress in the news and noted that Gregoire was hurt during a charity ride for Shriners Hospital for Children.

“His generosity is answered by your generosity,” Deeley told the students.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4


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