Eleven months after the motorcycle crash that put him in a wheelchair, Nick Hall can stand and even walk a few steps with the support of a cane.
He can say a few words, greet visitors and answer questions, mostly yes or no, with an accompanying wry smile. His handshake is surprisingly firm for a man who, two months ago, could barely move a finger.
Hall joined other Catlettsburg residents Thursday at the mayor’s reception kicking off the Gate City’s annual Labor Day weekend bash. He was there for a reason. Before community volunteers started dishing out the hotdogs and potato salad, Hall and members of his family, joined by Mayor Randall Peterman and council member Shelia Lambert, took a few minutes to thank a host of friends and well-wishers who had helped Hall through some difficult months.
Hall crashed his motorcycle in September 2012 when a deer ran in front of him. He landed on his head and underwent five brain surgeries. Doctors initially thought he would be paralyzed.
In June, with Hall’s insurance benefits bottoming out and lacking a place to stay that could accommodate his physical needs, his mother Vicki asked Peterman if there was anything he could do; Peterman immediately started knocking on doors and making phone calls and within hours had made arrangements for a temporary, handicap-equipped apartment in Grandview Manor.
Volunteers, some of whom knew the family and some who knew Hall from his job at State Electric Supply, banded together to expand and remodel Vicki Hall’s modest home to provide him a long-term residence.
“Our town is blessed with men and women who ask, what do I need to do to help,” Lambert said.
“We were just trying to help Vicki get back on her feet so Nick can get back on his feet,” said Don Boyd, one of the volunteers who remodeled her house.
Having her home ready for her son leaves Vicki Hall more time to concentrate on his recovery. He has been working with therapists who tell her he is making astonishing progress.
On Wednesday he walked by himself, for the first time, from his wheelchair to the bathroom. Accomplishments like that are cause for joy in the Hall house these days.
“I tell him that wheelchair is just temporary,” Vicki Hall said. “He’ll point to his Harley and I’ll say, this time next year you’re going to be riding down the road.”
MIKE JAMES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2652.