WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Fishermen and community members raised thousands of dollars in the Eddy Haneman Sailfish Tournament this weekend for a man some of them have never met.
The tournament directors choose to give money from the luncheon and tournament to people in the area in need each year. This year, they chose Phil Hatcher.
Hatcher's spine was partially severed in a mountain biking accident in June. His friend Chris Tenannt, and his wife were with him on the bike ride. Tennant backtracked through the woods to find help.
It took emergency crews almost six hours to get him out of the woods, cutting down trees to get to Hatcher.
Doctors initially told him he wouldn't be able to walk again, but he already has some movement back in his left leg.
"Phil never gave up he's working very, very hard day in and day out. In fact, I think he's wearing out the physical therapists because he just doesn't want to quit," Tennant said.
Hatcher and his friends said they're grateful for the outpouring of support in his recovery.
"I'm grateful that I was there for sure. Terrible experience but I'm super grateful that I was there to help him and to see the outpouring of help from people who want to help him that never knew Phil and they just heard about him through other people has been overwhelming," Tennant said.
Tennant represented Hatcher at the luncheon since he is still in the hospital. They raised more than $6,000 for Hatcher's recovery, and the directors said there's more money coming his way.
Tennant said despite the accident, Hatcher is determined to get back on that bike.
You can follow Hatcher's recovery here.