Pearl Jam Donates $70K to Man Who Saved Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam donate $70,000 to a man who saved Eddie Vedder's life 15 years ago

It looks like Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam take the whole “season of giving” thing pretty seriously.

Just two days ago, we reported that Vedder had sent a struggling Maryland family a $10,000 check after their story went viral. And now, as if we needed even more reasons to love the onetime San Diegan, the singer/guitarist and his Pearl Jam bandmates (who were recently announced as 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees) are at it again.

Back in 2001, Vedder and five friends were boating on the Pailolo Channel between Maui and Molokai when their sailing canoe overturned. The entire crew was thrown off the boat, and only three of them were able to make it back to it before wind gusts pushed it too far out of reach for Vedder and two others to climb aboard.

Enter Hawaii man Keith Baxter and his daughter, Ashley, to the rescue. The two had been riding their boat on the channel at the same time and happened to encounter the canoe, pulled Vedder and his two crew members from the water, and effectively saved the day.

Cool story, huh? Unfortunately for Keith Baxter, it doesn’t end there. In 2015, a rusty anchor nearly severed his leg in his own boating accident, and caused a life-threatening infection -- one that required medical treatments not covered by his insurance.

A GoFundMe page set up by the Baxters raised more than $70,000 on its own, but to their surprise (and after Ashley Baxter’s surprise encounter with one of the crew members from the 2001 accident -- who then relayed the situation to Vedder), Pearl Jam matched the existing donations to the tune of another $70,000.

This story indeed has a happy ending, with Baxter recently taking to his GoFundMe page and writing a note of appreciation.

“Because of all of you, I have received the best medical care available. Thanks to Dr. David Thordason at Cedar Sinai, the infection is gone and I’m on the road to recovery. I am doing therapy to try and get full movement in my foot, but have been able to get back to work at Baxter Charters and into water sports again. That is the best therapy of all! This Christmas was incredible. I want to express my Warmest Aloha to Eddie Vedder and the Band for their generous gift. What can I say. I am overwhelmed with their concern and Aloha towards me ... What big hearts they have.”

Dustin Lothspeich books The Merrow, plays in Diamond Lakes, and runs the music equipment-worshipping blog Gear and Loathing in San Diego. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.

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