Michael Hickerson, left, helps 11-year-old Malachi Duval read a raffle ticket number at a fundraising event Saturday at The Grotto in Talent for Malachi’s father, Chris Duval, an Ashland man who was seriously injured in a rollover car accident. - Julia Moore

Family, friends rally behind injured Ashland man

The T-shirts handed out at Saturday's benefit concert for Chris Duval, who was critically injured two weeks ago in a car crash, read "Get UP."

However, the Ashland man is already on his way to doing so, after doctors and family members say he has made impressive strides after suffering serious brain and bone injuries.

"He's up," said Duval's 11-year-old daughter, Aurora Duval. "Sometimes he's stubborn because they tell him he can't do stuff during physical therapy. But I tell him this is the way it has to be and that he is going to be okay."

The benefit concert in Duval's honor was held in the parking lot of The Grotto in Talent. All proceeds were given to Duval's family, which included 11-year-old twins and a 13-year-old boy.

Duval has made a name for himself by teaching Lego robotics at Kids Unlimited. He used the robots to introduce kids to the value of science and technology, as well as life lessons.

Michael Hickerson, 33, said Duval loved using the Lego robots to instill values of peace and empathy to kids.

"Chris is really a mix of hippie and computer nerd," Hickerson said.

Duval also owned a business called Nerd 4 Hire, which involved him fixing computers for people across the Rogue Valley.

Duval's vehicle crash occurred March 5 in the area of Table Rock Road. Immediately after the accident, things didn't look good for him.

Doctors told his family that he suffered serious brain injuries, as well as broken ribs and limbs. He was placed in Rogue Regional Medical Center's intensive care unit. He was on a ventilator but has since been taken off and can breathe on his own.

He is now in the midst of grueling physical therapy that will involve him learning to perform motor functions and get his memory back in shape.

His father Ken Duval, 73, was not surprised by the turn out for his son's benefit concert.

"He's loved by so many people," he said. "It's fantastic. The outpouring is amazing."

Aiden Duval, 13, who Duval's oldest son, said he impressed with the "energy" produced by the friends and family who gathered at The Grotto.

"It's a spiritual thing, really," he said.

Several local musicians were slated to perform, including Andy Casad & The Fret Drifters, The Illies, Bree The Musical, Josh Gibson and MistaChief Chanta.

A recorded message from Duval was also to be broadcast to the crowd, a moment to which Hickerson looked forward.

"He was unconscious for weeks but he knows this is happening for him right now," Hickerson said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email

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