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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

MI Tower On The Mend After Jan. Accident

I posted a story in mid-January about Vic Potter, a MI tow boss who was hit while working on the side of the road. Click here to read that post.
It was good to read that he's recuperating well these days! Here's the story from the Battle Creek Enquirer:
MARSHALL -- He talks like he's in a hurry, but Marshall School Board President Vic Potter is pacing himself as he recovers from an accident that occurred Jan. 14.

Potter, 55, was hit by a car on icy roads while attempting to hook up a vehicle to his tow truck on I-69 just north of N Drive North. Nearly three months later, after eight broken ribs and a broken femur, pelvis, and collar bone, Potter sits behind the desk at his business, Bud's Towing.

It's morning, in the second hour of his part-time work day. Lots of things have changed since before the accident, and now he's adjusting from 10-hour days to a 10-hour week.

"I can't drive a truck yet," he said. "I can't turn a wrench."

But he can do a lot more than doctors expected, after being hit by a car going 48 miles per hour. He can drive to and from work and physical therapy, and walk with a walker.

"I attribute my recovery to three things," he said. "Good doctors, my determination and the Good Lord looking out for me."

He also credits his active, healthy lifestyle.

"First of all, I don't drink or smoke," Potter said. "I've worked out for the last 40 years, lifting weights in my basement every other day. ... The doctors said I had an extra layer of muscle tissue and bone mass that saved my life. It acted as a cushion."

Potter spent seven days in a coma and was in trauma care for a total of 14 days at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. He recalls the moment he awoke for the first time.

"When I first woke up, my wife and son were not there yet," he said. "Nobody was in the room with me. And a voice came over me and said, 'You're back where you belong now.'"

He can't explain it, but Potter knows he heard that voice.

"I'm not overly religious, but I believe in God."

He said many area church congregations were praying for him to get well.

Potter had to stay in bed while his pelvis healed.

"I couldn't roll over for seven weeks," he said, adding that after two weeks in the hospital, he moved to Tendercare in Marshall.

He said rumors spread quickly in Marshall, and that his 14-year-old daughter Mariah was told he had died in a car crash before she found out he was badly injured."

In this town, word travels pretty fast," said Potter, a lifelong Marshall resident. "The whole town knew about it 20 minutes after it happened."

Living in a close-knit community like Marshall has its blessings, too. While in the hospital, Potter had 3,018 hits on the Caring Bridge Web site that his son Victor updated daily, and while in Tendercare he received 951 cards.

"It was a nice outreach from everybody," Potter said. "It kept my attitude good. When you're in a situation like that, attitude is half the battle."

After 36 years on the job, Potter had never been hit before.

"I remember being there," he recalled. "You keep your ears open. Usually you can hear a car sliding and spinning out, but I didn't hear it that day."

As for getting back in a tow truck, he might just take the advice of his wife, Sandra, and kids, who prefer he play it safe.

"I'm debating whether to go back out on the road again," he said. "Last year we had two trucks hit on the highway, with pretty extensive damage. This year, I got hit. The point is, it's dangerous out there."

Darby Prater can be reached at 966-0589 or dprater@gannett.com.

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