Charity luau held for injured Rumson water-skier

Event staged at

Hook, Line & Sinker

nets $4K


Staff Writer

RUMSON — About 60 or so friends of a local man tasted a bit of Hawaiian cuisine Saturday afternoon to lift his spirits and help him rise above a mountain of medical bills.

By 4 p.m., when the dining and dancing at a charity luau held at Hook, Line & Sinker restaurant wrapped up, about $4,000 had been raised for Jim Brown, a Rumson resident and the reason for their gathering.

Despite his present condition, Brown, 43, was on hand to witness the three-hour luau having recently come off his crutches, according to his longtime best friend, David Luker, of Monmouth Beach.

Luker, with his wife Andrea, organized the fund-raiser and thanked all that came out in support of Brown, known as “Brownie” to family and friends.

“It went great,” Luker said of the fund-raiser’s success. “It was fantastic.”

The proceeds of the luau will be used to help defray Brown’s ongoing medical expenses. The avid water-skier, whose injuries prevent him from walking or working, is now undergoing regular physical therapy, Luker said.

Brown shattered his pelvis and ribs in the Aug. 8 water-skiing accident on the Navesink River. Though he initially sought treatment at Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank, he was later transported to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City due to the severity of his injuries, according to a press release by event organizers.

Physicians at the New York hospital operated on Brown for six hours placing metal plates, pins, screws and rods inside his broken body.

Through physical therapy, Brown is aiming to gradually regain use of his legs, Luker noted.

Though only a few guests sported any Hawaiian wear on the chilly November night, the spirit of the guests warmed up the party room inside the restaurant on West River Road, Luker said.

The restaurant’s owner, Jamie Wark, a grade-school friend of Brown’s, offered to host the event and Sea Girt’s Billy Lawlor Band provided the music.

“Jim is one of our favorite guests and we’re all glad to be able to host this day for him,” Wark said in a written statement. “This event will help raise much needed funds for Jim’s medical care as he continues his fight to recover.”

A graduate of Red Bank Catholic High School, Brown befriended Luker nearly 30 years ago when both were adolescents growing up in Rumson and Fair Haven. Their friendship has flourished into their adult years, Luker said.

The owner of the Windmill Restaurant franchise in Westfield, Union County, Brown serves as a board member of the local American Red Cross Chapter in that community. He is also vice chairman of the Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce.