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Wheeler ‘humbled’ by outpouring of support

Tommy Wheeler fully appreciates the life he’s been living since Sept. 14, the day a horrendous accident on U.S. 377 left him without the bottom half of his left leg.

“Frankly, I should have died, but I had a strong will and a positive attitude,” he said. “It’s amazing how far you’ll get with a positive attitude.”

What Wheeler, who works at Sturm Welding and coaches youth football, also had was the love of family and friends, each of whom has been there for him these last few months as he’s slowly recovered from the trauma.

It’s a rehabilitation that could have Wheeler walking on two legs with the aid of a prosthetic in the near future.

Getting to that point might have been just a dream a few months ago, when Wheeler was in the hospital recovering from his injuries; he spent 27 days in the intensive care unit and about 14 in a coma.

However, even during that period, Wheeler found strength in family and friends. He returned home a few weeks ago.

“Every time I would regain consciousness, I would see one of my family members, and that is very comforting,” Wheeler said, “because when you are on pain medicine, your reality is just fog. … My imagination would be all over the place, but when I woke up I would see my dad, our pastor – not a whole lot of the kids early on – and it would give me a sense of comfort.

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