Tina Powers is about as spry and spunky as any 59 year, 11 month old person you’ll ever meet! Tina is a natural born athlete, and active doesn’t begin to describe her lifestyle! Tina loves to exercise, walk her dogs, and play basketball. On Good Friday, March 30, 2018, Tina was off work and planning to load up her dogs and do one of if not her favorite hobby of all--go fishing on the banks of Lake Travis.
As Tina was preparing for her day, she noticed a neighbor’s dog was out. She called the neighbor at work, and he asked her to get the dog back in his house, and he’d tend to him when he got off work. Like the good friend she is, Tina agreed. Unfortunately, the dog turned on Tina, and attacked. Tina’s quick reflexes probably saved her life. She put her right arm in front of her face and neck, and the dog latched on. And with a vice like grip the breed is known for, he proceeded to destroy Tina’s right forearm, just above her hand.
The dog stayed “clamped” on Tina for what she says seemed like an eternity. At some point, and for some unknown reason, he let go, and Tina was able to escape. (Not before he bit her badly on her upper back.) Tina ran through the neighbor’s house and into the street and screamed for help. Her lower right arm was barely hanging on. One bone was crushed and broken, the other dislocated, and two arteries were severed. Thankfully a couple of neighbors were home and called 911.
Tina was first taken to a hospital close to her home. The doctors there said there was a 95% chance she’d lose her arm just below her elbow. By the grace of God she was eventually transferred to a Trauma 1 hospital because of the severity of her injuries. The great doctors, nurses and staff at Dell Seton Hospital in Austin were able to save Tina’s arm and hand and begin the long process of piecing her back together. She’s been through five surgeries to this point (two of them lasting 4-5 hours), and is uncertain if, or how many more she might face over the months to come.
She’s going to doctor appointments and occupational/physical therapy 4-6 times per week in Austin. Tina lived in Leander, north of Austin, which is where the incident occurred. Tina is not able to live alone full time, and take care of her house, pets and daily household duties, so she and her three dogs are convalescing at her 91 year old mother’s house in North Austin. Ironically, Tina has been “Granny’s” primary care giver for the last several years as her Mom has slowed down and can no longer drive. Now Granny is taking care of Tina and her three big dogs! God works in funny ways!!!
Tina has been in teaching for 36 years. She taught in Laporte, Texas for six years, before moving closer to her home town of Austin to teach in the Round Rock School District for 25 more years. About five years ago Tina stepped away from full time teaching and started drawing her well deserved teacher’s retirement. Unfortunately, that alone was not enough to sustain her, so she’s been substitute teaching primarily special needs kids in the Round Rock District for the last five years, 2-4 times per week. In addition, Tina operates her own one (wo)man lawn service during the summers, cutting yards for a few elderly customers and other retired educators. Tina has never been afraid of hard work. And if you’ve done any yard work in Texas in the summer, you understand completely!
Since Tina’s injury she’s been unable to work to generate any income beyond her teacher retirement. Family and friends have stepped in to help Tina in many ways, but her current arrangement is not sustainable for the long haul until she can work again. Additionally, and understandably, Tina has no desire to return to her home of 10 years in Leander. So, Tina’s family and friends are also preparing her home to sell, and eventually will help her find and settle into a new place.
Thankfully Tina has excellent medical insurance. The cost for her care is already astronomical, starting with her initial hospital stay of nearly two weeks in intensive care, and continuing as she undergoes more surgeries, treatments and therapy. Even with great coverage, her out of pocket expenses are already well beyond her means, and even more of a burden since she can’t work part time for the foreseeable future. In addition, since the dog’s owner did have some liability coverage, any payments made to Tina will be targeted by her health insurance carrier, looking to recoup their own costs.
On July 16, 2018, Tina will turn the big six-oh! Although she didn’t have big plans for a trip around the world or scaling Mt. Everest, Tina certainly didn’t expect to find herself in this predicament as she closes out the decade of her 50’s and earns her 10 year AARP pin!
So as awkward and uncomfortable as this might be for Tina, we’re turning to the community for help.
Tina has touched and influenced the lives of thousands of kids and parents in her 36 years in teaching and coaching. As a high school and collegiate women’s basketball player herself, that’s where her first love of sport remains. In addition to basketball, Tina’s coached volleyball and track, and taught P.E. at the elementary school level. If you’re ever out and about with Tina in the North Austin/Round Rock area, it’s not uncommon to hear a “Coach Powers” shout from across a restaurant or store, and one of Tina’s former students runs up and gives her a big hug. Even more impressive is to hear them tell her what a positive impact she made on their lives. If you’ve ever wondered what difference a teacher can make, hang around with Tina a couple of days!
We’re asking anyone that hears Tina’s story to consider giving. Especially for all the students Tina’s touched over her three-plus decades in education, and the many current and retired teachers that care so deeply for one of their own. Tina would sincerely appreciate any help to cover her many out of pocket medical expenses; the eventual cost to move and settle into a new home; and daily expenses that are beyond her means for as long as she's unable to work part time.
For those that don’t have the resources to help financially, your prayers for Tina, her family and friends, and her doctors and other care givers, are just as helpful to get her through this ordeal.
We’ve posted a few pictures of Tina over the years and some of her injuries. We’ll try to post updates on Tina’s progress over the months ahead.
Thank you for reading Tina’s story. Thank you in advance for helping share her story with others that might be able to help, and for whatever assistance you can lend at this time.
Let’s get Tina back on her feet, back to work, and back doing the things she loves to do! Let’s help her sail smoothly into her sixties!
Thank you and God bless…
- Darra Dotson
- Elisabeth Landry
- Ruth Cook
- Mark & Lauren Alley
Organizer and beneficiary
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