SKOWHEGAN — The man with the long beard and flowing white hair known to many in Skowhegan as the ‘bottle man’ or the ‘waving guy’ has been released from the hospital after falling and hitting his head Friday afternoon, a nursing supervisor said Saturday.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign for the man, Neil Woodard, who is about 70, raised $1,200 overnight Friday for the purchase of a new three-wheel bike and safety devices so Woodard can continue his work of walking the streets of Skowhegan with his bike and collecting bottles and cans to redeem for cash.

Rick Sisco, of Canaan, a former tavern bouncer and occasional disc jockey, started the fundraiser Friday after learning of Woodard’s injury. The goal was just over $700 for the trike and accessories, but Sisco said he stopped taking donations when it reached $1,200. The extra money will be donated to Woodard to do with what he wishes, he said.

“It was just something to try to get him new trike,” Sisco said by phone Saturday afternoon. “He’s always walking around smiling and waving as he walks down the street. Everybody else has their heads down looking at their phone.”

Woodard apparently tripped on broken pavement about 1 p.m. Thursday and went down hard, a resident of nearby Springhouse Gardens apartment house on Spring Street said at the scene. Woodard was attended to by passers-by until an ambulance from Redington-Fairview General Hospital arrived. Woodard was bleeding from the head.

Emergency medical personnel put Woodard in a neck brace and onto a rolling gurney and into the ambulance for a trip to the hospital. Woodard appeared to be conscious, responding to questions from emergency medical personnel.

The bike, which has no seat, chain or pedals, was standing next to him. He had not been riding the bike.

“The trike was ordered last night,” Sisco, who works at Family Pet Connection on Skowhegan Village Plaza, wrote on the GoFundMe page, which since has stopped taking donations. “I am in the process of transferring the money to my account so that I can withdraw it for Neil. A trike and a few accessories, including safety lights for the evening and an extra basket for the front of the bike, have already been ordered and will arrive around the end of next week.”

For many years, Woodard has used the bike for collecting bottles and cans along Skowhegan roads. He finds them in ditches, on curbs and in parking lots, according to a story about him published in March. He lives in an apartment on Beauford Street.

Last year, toward the end of winter, Woodard said he was on Beauford Street and tripped over a chunk of ice and fell and broke his right hip, but he recovered.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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