The Spirit of Survival
17th 2010, John’s life changed dramatically. As he was taking his dogs for a walk near
the family cabin at Lake Wenatchee, John was mauled by a black bear. The attack went on for several minutes.
Alerted by the dogs, John’s wife Lynn discovered him in the driveway
bleeding to death. She looked up to
see the bear pacing along the road about 100 feet away.
seeking help on 9-1-1, Lynn held the bear away making noise and waving her
arms. John was taken by medics to
Wenatchee’s Central Washington Hospital where he was stabilized and then airlifted
to Harborview’s Regional Trauma Center.
He spent almost 18-hours in the emergency OR, the first of eight
surgeries over the next several weeks.
His story of
the “horrific fight” with the bear, his survival, and positive attitude in
recovery has been described by many as inspiring. The story was carried around the world
and John has been featured on the NBC Today Show and CBS Early
Morning. Lynn, and their daughter
Megan, 11, were honored in March as American Red Cross heroes for keeping
the bear from attacking again and standing by John. He will appear on the
Biography Channel’s series “I Survived.”
John lost his left eye in the attack. His left arm required extensive skin
grafts. His neck was torn to the
spine and his scalp and face were badly ripped by the bear’s teeth and
claws. But his spirit never
wavered. One month after the attack,
John was back on the city council taking part in the budget deliberations
by phone. And on November 2nd,
he returned to the council dais, crediting his recovery on the thoughts and
prayers of thousands of people.
John and family at the Red Cross Awards where Lynn and Megan were honored as Red Cross Heroes.
(Watch video from the Red Cross.)
Initial Report on CBS Morning News
News Conference at Harborview