Northwoods Logger Continues to Work After Losing Leg in Accident

Each day spent navigating the endless green forests of Price County is a new adventure for Gary Edinger. He has been working in these woods since he was eight years old. Edinger is able to bring down a tree, clear off the brush, and drag it to a clearing all in the span of about 27 minutes. It’s about the same amount of time it took to escape an almost certain death after a logging accident seven years ago when a tree fell the wrong way.

At the time of the accident, it was 15 degrees below zero, 20 miles from the nearest town, and Edinger was completely alone.

"As I was bringing my eyes to see what the problem was, I was preparing myself to see a broken leg, instead I didn't have a leg. Below my knee the dang thing was gone." says Edinger.

Edinger was bleeding heavily, and after three failed attempts to turn his belt into a tourniquet, his hopes of survival were dwindling.

"I remember seeing blackness, a darkness. Perhaps I started to pass out, I don't know, but it was funny how calm I got. Then, this stupid idea comes out of the air, what the heck, why don't you see how far you can get?" Edinger says.

That was the decision that likely saved Edinger’s life. He was somehow able to gather the strength to climb to his tractor and drive it to his pick-up truck. Once he was there, he was able to call 911. That call was able to dispatch an emergency helicopter which flew him to safety.

Despite losing his leg in the accident, Edinger knew he was going to be alright. For some, just surviving this ordeal would be enough, but for Gary, mere survival wasn’t going to cut it. That is why he did everything he could to get back to logging.

"I couldn't let the woods beat me.There is this family pride that we have, and to not go back would have been like to saying to everybody else that I was a coward and there is no way I could have handled that." Edinger says.

Seven years after the accident, Gary continues to work in logging. He has now written a book which highlights his experience. The book is titled Will to Live: A Saga of Survival and is available on Amazon.

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