Sunday, September 24, 2006

A tragic story

I was shown this article (link).

The 24-year-old remains in a coma with multiple injuries in Indiana.



BOARDMANTownship native Kade Kotheimer, 24, married his college sweetheart and moved to Indiana two months ago to begin a career as a firefighter.

On Sept. 15, he was involved in a minor traffic accident and got out of his car to check on another driver. He was then struck by three vehicles and remains hospitalized in a coma with multiple injuries.

"He probably thought that he was safe in the center lane," said his father, Kim, a township police detective. "I probably would have thought the same thing."

A van pulled into the lane and struck him, sending the 2001 Boardman High School graduate airborne and into oncoming traffic, where another vehicle struck him, according to published reports.

A third vehicle then ran over him as he lay in the road, his father said.

The Indianapolis Star reported that the driver of the van doesn't have a driver's license and has a long record of traffic offenses.

Kotheimer had just started a job as a firefighter for the Speedway Fire Department in Indiana about two months before the accident. He graduated in the spring from the University of Akron with a degree in fire science and got married a few months ago.

Trust fund established

Members of the Speedway Fire Department have established the Trust Fund for Firefighter Kade Kotheimer to help with expenses.

More information is available on the Internet at There's a link to the Kade Kotheimer Fund.

Donations may be made at the National City Bank branch at the Southern Park Mall. Although the Web site indicates all branches may accept the donations, the mall branch is the only Mahoning Valley location where the fund is set up.

His father said that Kotheimer and his wife, Denae, had just closed on a new house two days before.

While in high school, Kotheimer was active in band and theater orchestras and the jazz band, but he always wanted to be a firefighter.

"From the time he was young, he said that's what he wanted to do," his father said.

He enrolled in the cadet program through the Western Reserve Joint Fire District, a program where 16-and-17-year-olds learn about firefighting.

Chief David Comstock Jr. said that's where Kotheimer stood out.

"The No. 1 thing was he was very enthusiastic," Comstock said. "He always had a positive attitude."

He also showed a passion and knack for the job, the chief said.

The Speedway firefighters also plan a benefit motorcycle show Oct. 3 for their injured comrade.

Lt. Jeff Hartman of the Speedway department said about 2,000 red bracelets, with Kade, SFD and his badge number, 160, written on them also will be sold to raise money.

Checks to the Trust for Kade Kotheimer also may be mailed to Hartman at the station, 1410 N. Lynhurst Drive, Speedway, Ind. 46224.

Serious injuries

Kotheimer's injuries include head trauma and multiple fractures in both legs, but his father said his condition has improved over the last week.

A tracheotomy tube has been inserted to help him breathe, and a feeding tube is being inserted in his stomach, Kim Kotheimer said.

"In the neurological intensive care unit, they told us that they don't measure in minutes or hours, they measure in days and weeks and months," he said.

Kim Kotheimer credited his son's department for their fund-raising efforts and support since the accident.

Joe Rush, a Speedway firefighter, said individuals within the 34-member department are working Kotheimer's shifts so that he continues to receive a paycheck. Others are working to paint the couple's house and get it ready to move in.

Hartman, who also serves as president of Speedway town council, said the employees are contributing sick time to pitch in for their injured co-worker.

The fact that Kotheimer worked at the department only a short time before his injuries is irrelevant, Rush said.

"It doesn't matter if you're here for one day or for 20 years, it's a brotherhood," he said.
Friday, September 22, 2006

Please keep them in your prayers and help in any other way you can. Here is a link to the department and what they are doing to help. (Link)

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