Man survives fall from roof

One Ottumwa man is lucky to be alive after falling off his roof while working on his new home.

Gary Van Hemert had been working on his new home for months before October 8. It was on that Saturday, while he was replacing the roof, Gary tripped climbing out of a window and fell 30 feet to the ground onto a tractor bucket.

When I got to the edge of the roof, I turned around to my right and saw that the tractor was sitting down below, Gary said. I thought to myself, ~O God this is going to hurt. TM

Gary added that his heels felt like someone had set them on fire. Gary TMs wife Amy was outside and immediately ran to help.

I just took off running towards him, Amy said. I hollered at the older boys to help that he had fell.

Gary broke four vertebras, both ankles and his right femur. After several surgeries and weeks at University of Iowa hospitals and Ottumwa Regional, Gary spent his first night at home Tuesday. Doctors say it TMs a miracle he wasn TMt paralyzed or even killed and it will take a year to fully recover. The amazing news; Gary should walk again.

Now friends and family are helping to raise money to cover medical expenses.

It TMs just amazing the support that I TMm getting from the neighbors and from different communities around the area. I guess I didn TMt expect it and I didn TMt feel real comfortable asking for any help but I didn TMt have to ask. They just came forward and said what do you need done?

On Nov. 19, a benefit concert will be held in Blakesburg. Contact Lori King at (641) 799-1442.

On Dec. 4, a benefit auction will be held at the Eddyville-Blakesburg elementary school. Questions and donations can be directed to Misty Van Dorin (641) 660-2846.

You can also donate to the Community 1st Credit Union 235 Richmond Avenue Ottumwa, IA 52501. Contact Louise German (641) 682-6529.

Monetary donations or supplies for the house can be directed to Cheryl Eissens (641) 660-0873.