Calling on those who can help | SummitDaily.com

Calling on those who can help

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news

Special to the Daily

DILLON ” When Michael Southwick, a partner at Evans Trucking in Dillon, suffered a brain injury, doctors said he’d never regain consciousness.

Since Southwick’s accident on a four-wheeler Aug. 28 above Idaho Springs, he has regained consciousness, but his left side is paralyzed and he works to muster words because of a crushed voice box. He just got off of a feeding tube three weeks ago. So far, his cognitive abilities have improved; now he can recognize people, tell time and spell names.

“He’s made most of his progress at Craig Hospital (in Englewood),” said his father-in-law and business partner Brett Evans.

But insurance only allows about 50 days of treatment, and Southwick has had about 30 days of rehabilitation. Doctors want Southwick to go to a nursing home and wait for his brain to heal more before they finish Southwick’s allotted treatment. But Annie Southwick refuses to put her husband in a nursing home, saying it will make him worse. She wants to bring him to their home in Idaho Springs.

The only problem is their townhome isn’t handicapped-accessible. The bedrooms are upstairs, and the downstairs bathroom isn’t wide enough for a wheelchair. Evans plans to remodel the one-car garage to create a bedroom and bathroom for his son-in-law, as well as remodel part of the house. He said the homeowners association has approved any changes, but he still needs to get a permit and

complete plans. Even when he accomplishes those tasks, he needs help in the form of volunteer labor and donated materials to complete the project.

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“Anyone that can bang nails or use a tape measure is welcome to come, that’s for dang sure,” Evans said.

“It would be the blessing of all blessings,” said Debbie Maxwell, Annie Southwick’s mother. “We as a family have witnessed some of the most beautiful acts of kindness since this tragic accident. Life can be so hard at times that we forget what a truly beautiful, kind, loving and caring world we live in. This accident has made all of us so much more aware of the blessings.”

Evans hopes to build cranes on the ceiling so his daughter can lift Southwick up, if necessary.

“My whole thing is to save my daughter’s sanity,” he said.

Meanwhile, his daughter remains hopeful for her husband’s recovery. Though doctors can’t give a prognosis, his wife says she’s not settling for less than 100 percent recovery.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13624, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.

Brett Evans is looking for anyone who can donate building materials, money or time to remodel a garage for his son-in-law, Michael Southwick. He wants to start construction as soon as possible.

Southwick suffered a severe head injury and paralysis after an accident on Aug. 28 while driving a four-wheeler. He is now confined to a wheelchair, and his townhome is not handicapped-accessible.

To help, call Evans at (970) 418-4130.

Evans also has set up an account at Credit Union of the Rockies in Frisco. To donate, ask for the Southwick Foundation.