Skyline teacher Hodge returns to smiles and hugsCar accident injures his body, but fills his heart with gratitude PAM STEVENS | EDITOR Mackenzie Fitzpatrick, a third grade student in Ms. Korzelius’ class at Skyline Elementary welcomes Mr. Hodge back to school after months of recovery from a car accident on Highway 92. One morning last October, Brad Hodge, 41, was making his usual commute along Highway 92 from his home in Granite Falls to his job as a Physical Education teacher at Skyline Elementary in Lake Stevens when he was struck by a gravel truck and crushed inside his truck.
Hodge had already survived neck and back injuries while serving in Iraq with his National Guard unit when his vehicle got struck by an IED (improvised explosive device), but after being cut out of his truck on that cool October morning and being airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, he was in for the fight of his life.
While lying in a hospital bed in a medically induced coma, Hodge’s left leg started filling with infection. Doctors had to remove the leg and still the infection continued to spread throughout his body. At one point doctors gave him only 12 hours to live if the infection couldn’t be found and stopped.
“The infection was hidden and they couldn’t find where it was coming from,” Hodge said. “My kidneys started shutting down.”
Doctors were able to find and stop the infection and after the shock of losing a leg started to wear off, Hodge started to look forward to returning to the kids that had filled his hospital room with banners and cards, which were filled with messages of hope and inspiration only a child can construe.
“I was touched and inspired by the kids, they sent so many cards and good wishes,” he said. “It lifted me up and made me realize why I wanted to come back. They gave me something to shoot for.”
On January 28, after several operations, Hodge finally got to return home from the hospital. Fellow teachers and staff at Skyline have been fixing meals since Hodge got home which he has been very grateful for.
“I was pretty lucky to walk away so to speak,” he said with a soft laugh.
Less than two months later, Hodge got to return to work part-time and will start working full days after Spring break.
Just four days after his first day back and students are still excited to see him. As he sits out on the playground in his new wheelchair, students flock to hug him and ask him how he is doing. Hodge welcomes each student’s hugs and questions.
“I’m just amazed at the kids,” he said. “They make me happy. I love being around everybody again.”
There are a few more surgeries and a lot of physical therapy in Hodge’s future but with his optimistic attitude, the support of his family, friends and students he sees a future of walking and running and most of all teaching.
“There’ll be a little hitch in my giddy-up, but it will all work out,” he said.
An auction and dessert event to support Hodge will be held Thursday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Cavelero Mid High Commons.
If you would like to donate an item or service for the auction please contact Kathy_Sierakowska@lkstevens.wednet.edu 425-335-1520 or Colleen Aldrich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets for the auction are available at the door or presale by contacting Kathy or Colleen and are $3 for adults and $1 for children.
Donations to help cover medical and housing modification expenses can also be made to Friends of Brad Hodge Donation Account, at any Wells Fargo Bank.