Near tragedy demonstrates strength of community

Published March 7 2017

To the Editor

Thank you Haliburton County for your support over the past year since a serious accident made front page news: “Teacher two students in car accident” was the headline.
On our way to the OFSAA Nordic skiing championships our vehicle was struck by a gravel truck at an intersection near Collingwood. The two students and I were taken to Collingwood Hospital where they were treated and released to their parents and I was airlifted to St. Michael’s Hospital. Surgery induced coma intensive care more surgery and two weeks later I started to be aware of where I was. On St Patrick’s Day I was transferred to Toronto Rehabilitation Institute where I stayed until early May and learned to walk again. I then moved home and began returning regularly to Toronto for intensive rehab treatment.

From the very beginning community support has been extraordinary for me and my family (and the two students whose injuries were thankfully less severe). Visitors in hospital cards gifts including a handmade shawl and quilt a huge card and stack of thoughtful presents from Blake’s JDH class a complimentary subscription to the Echo mailed to me in hospital … The hospital staff remarked on what a great community I came from. As an outpatient I was grateful for a series of drivers who volunteered to get me to and from downtown Toronto and made the journeys pleasant. Volunteer gardeners tidied the garden in spring. Yoga teachers made house calls.

A year later my recovery has far surpassed the most optimistic expectations. I’m back to part-time duties at the high school with lots of support from staff and students and I’ve even been Nordic skiing. I’ve had excellent medical care both in Toronto and now locally and I’m lucky that I was in such good health before the accident and beyond that I’m sure that the incredible support from friends and acquaintances in Haliburton has been essential to my recovery. I feel enveloped by love and good wishes.
Thank you Haliburton for your generous supportive heart.

Jennifer Paton