Joe, 35, is a stone mason. He is an avid outdoorsman who loves hunting and fishing. He is a family man who loves his wife and children dearly. He plays soul music on the penny whistle and makes his own beer. He is also a man of faith who loves the Good Lord.
Photo: Joe with his daughter Alex on their recent family trip to Rhode Island for a family reunion.
This week, Joe and his younger brother Dominic were putting in a new brick wall in an existing basement that had an old cracked foundation.
They were both on ladders, filling the space between the walls with concrete when a horrible accident happened.
They had just finished adding a second batch of concrete when they suddenly heard a loud “pop.”
Joe yelled at Dominic: “Jump!”
Dominic sprung from his ladder as the 6-ton wall suddenly came crashing down, wet cement gushing out like a bursting dam. The massive concrete blocks just missed Dominic as he cleared past the falling debris.
Joe’s shout saved Dominic’s life.
But Joe was not so lucky.
His ladder was positioned in the middle of the wall, and there was no place for him to jump to safety.
As the entire 8-foot wall came crashing down, Joe’s ladder fell backward, with the heavy blocks crashing down upon his legs, chest, and arms.
Photo: The wall that crashed down on Joe. You can see the crushed ladder he was standing on in the middle.
Peering through the dust and debris, Dominic immediately thought that Joe must be dead.
But then he heard Joe groan.
The man who drove the cement truck immediately called 911 and asked for an ambulance.
Together, he and Dominic began removing the large blocks, some of them still cemented together, that buried Joe. Dominic was forced to use a sledgehammer to break the larger parts of the wall that were pinning Joe down.
This happened around 1 PM on August 15.
Some 15 minutes later, police officers and an ambulance arrived. They helped remove the rest of the rubble off Joe.
He was barely conscious.
Joe, a six-foot 280-pound man, was heaved onto a stretcher and rushed to the hospital in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, about a 20-minute drive away.
The falling bricks had crushed his right arm and leg. There was a concern about a neck and spine injury from falling backward off the ladder as the blocks came crashing down upon him. His chest was raw and red from the scraping of a brick. There was concern about internal bleeding.
But, by the grace of God, X-rays revealed that there was no internal bleeding and surprisingly no broken bones.
Some of Joe’s brothers believe this is rather miraculous, and that it was no coincidence that the day of the accident happened to be the Feast Day when Catholics celebrate the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. They believe that Mary covered Joe with a special mantle of her protection. Joe has a special devotion to Mary.
Joe is now back at home with his family.
He’ll be laid up for months while he is recovering from massive bruising, crushed muscles in his legs and arms, and various gashes, scrapes, and other wounds over his entire body.
Being self-employed, Joe has no recourse to workers compensation. The summer is his busiest time of year, when he makes most of the money his family needs to tide them over through the winter.
Joe’s doctors say that he’ll be laid up for the rest of the year while his body heals from all the damage the brick wall inflicted on him.
Samantha is first asking for prayers for Joe’s healing. She is then asking for support to help get them through the upcoming winter and to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses for Joe’s rehabilitation. If you cannot help personally, please pass this information on to someone who might.
Thank you and God bless your generosity!
- L.J. & Joan Helferty
- Lenore Lukasik-Foss
Organizer and beneficiary
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