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
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
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
Initial Report on
CBS Morning News
News Conference at