Islanders provide safety net for one of their own

Once an islander always an islander, meaning it is no surprise locals are reaching out and giving Chad Settles, who grew up on the island and attended Friday Harbor High School during the late 80s, a hand-up after having a skateboarding accident that injured his hip a few weeks ago, despite that he currently lives outside Bellingham, Washington.

“Skateboarding is an independent art form,” Settles said when asked how he got into the sport nearly forty years ago. “There are no rules, no losers and no winners for sure.” He added that older friends that he looked up to like Sam Stanton and Toffer Greely had already paved the way into skating.

Skating led to building skate ramps, long before the San Juan County Fairgrounds created a skating area.

Little did he know, those skills that were honed during his teen years would lead him directly into a career path, construction.

“I started building skate ramps and moved right into home building,” Settles said. His passion for skating continued, however, long after moving off-island, and getting married. Although he was not skating fast or doing any crazy tricks, Settles landed on his hip in a way that may mean physical labor like construction will be difficult. It is critical he takes time to heal correctly, according to Settles. His wife Jessica is doing every she can to ensure that he does recover correctly, including adjusting their house to enable him to move around easier with crutches. He will also need full-time care from her throughout the first stages of his recovery. This leaves the family, Chad, Jessica and their teenage daughter, with minimal income. While Chad is optimistic, saying each day is a little better, whether or not he will be able to return to construction is contingent on how well and how quickly he heals.

“It depends on how well I heal up. I guess only time will tell, I hope to be building again. It’s my best skill so far but things may change. It has given good pay and support to a healthy family,” Chad said.

He is hopeful also that if the healing process goes well, he will not need further surgery, however, the pins and screws in his hips will be permanent. That is good news since the accident is leaving Settles not only having to take extended time from work but hefty medical bills as well. Both financial issues led long-time friends and islander Juniper Maas to launch a GoFundMe. The goal is to raise $15,000 and already the site has raised over $10,000.

“I want to express my gratitude for such a supportive community,” Chad said. “Thank you San Juan Islanders, much love.”

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