Survivor comes out of trauma with new outlook

Paul Fought is one blessed man and he knows it.

On May 31, 2012, he left his job at Colwell Colour in Kendallville and was driving west on U.S. Highway 6 toward his home in Ligonier when an impaired driver in a pick-up truck, heading east, crossed the center line striking Paul’s car head-on.

“I must have seen it coming. because the brunt of the impact was on my front, left side,” Paul said. “I don’t remember seeing the car coming but that’s not unusual. I only remember three things from that day … I remember turning on my car three times, I don’t know why three; I remember seeing sky above me and I remember hearing ‘Parkview Regional ETA five minutes,’ which was obviously the Samaritan pilot.”

Kendallville Police Department, Kendallville Fire Department, Parkview Noble EMS and many more agencies were there to help that day. It took emergency personnel 45 minutes to cut Paul out of his car. “I was trapped in there,” he added. “They had to cut the roof off, and that’s when I saw sky.”

Parkview Samaritan was called in to transport a critically-injured Paul to Parkview Regional Medical Center (PRMC). He had compound fractures of the left femur and right tibia; a broken left ulna; brain bleeds and a concussion; torn rotator cuff and a shattered femur. All in all, Paul endured 11 surgeries and was in ICU for 1 ½ weeks, then moved to a regular room for a few days. After that, he was sent to Avalon Village in Ligonier for rehabilitation. He spent three months there.

The second week of September, Paul and his wife Nancy moved in with their son Chris and his family, who also live in Ligonier. This was until Paul could do stairs as the bedroom in their own home is upstairs.  

Paul says his care at PRMC was excellent. “There wasn’t one person at Parkview that we had any issues with. Everyone was so accommodating and caring,” Paul’s wife, Nancy, said. When Nancy asked the trauma surgeon if Paul would walk again, he gently explained to her that Paul was gravely injured and to pray that he’d survive the first day.

“It was the perfect place for me to be taken,” added Paul. The EMTs who responded to Paul’s accident scene came to visit him later; the Samaritan pilot came to visit him and took Paul and Nancy’s grandkids up to see the Samaritan helicopter. “Everyone was wonderful. They saved my life.”

Paul said he went to visit a friend in the hospital at PRMC a few years later and one of the nurses who cared for his friend recognized and remembered him.

The whole experience changed Paul, who was a devout Christian before the accident. “I changed the way I think about my time here on earth compared to eternity. All of us die, but eternity is forever. I have never been so close to God in my life. It was an amazing summer.”

Paul has had the opportunity to share his story at 17 churches, another thing he sees as a positive from the accident. “I’m glad God and this accident have given me that opportunity. If one person comes closer to having Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior because of something they heard me say, then all of the pain has been worth it.”

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