‘Man on the bridge’ recuperating after a bike accident

OKEECHOBEE – Okeechobee’s beloved “man on the bridge,” Doug Gerbing, is recuperating at Lawnwood Medical Center after a nasty fall from his bicycle. His brother, Bill Estey, said Mr. Gerbing was returning from visiting him at the John Deere store on Friday afternoon, Oct. 19, when the weld holding the front wheel of Mr. Gerbing’s bike failed, causing him to crash on the U.S. 441 overpass. A passerby saw the accident and rushed to his aid, called for help and waited until emergency personnel arrived. Mr. Estey said there were facial fractures around Doug’s eye but no damage to the eye itself. Surgery to repair the damage was performed on Sunday.

Doug Gerbing (left) and Bill Wallace.

According to Mr. Estey, Mr. Gerbing is very bruised up but is expected to recover.

Mr. Gerbing has been waving to passersby on the U.S. 441 overpass almost daily for the last 10 years. He brings a smile to almost every face as they drive by. Hundreds of people have expressed concern on several different Facebook pages. His friend Bill Wallace jokingly calls him the “Welcome Ambassador to Okeechobee” and said, “ Doug just wants to spread happiness.” A group of friends is collecting cards and letters at Brown Cow Sweetery, if anyone would like to drop one off. There is also a GoFundMe.com account set up in Doug Gerbing’s name to help with medical bills.

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