Injured lineman returning home, community rallies support for recovery

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VESPER, Wis. (WSAW) - A line worker paralyzed as he was he cleaning up storm debris this summer will make his way home later this month.

Picture of Brian Ortner and his family. Courtesy of the family on October 9, 2019. (WSAW-TV)

Brian Ortner was hit by a tree in July while at work and has been recovering in Denver ever since. He had a 10 hour surgery to save his life and realign his spine. Ortner can now only feel from his chest up.

The past few months has been the toughest for him and his family. "I think the hardest part is that we haven't been able to be a family," said Amy Ortner, his wife.

His wife and two kids have been there for him while he recovers from an injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. It's been hard for Brian and his wife to be away from there kids for such long periods at a time while he recovers in Denver.

When he returns home in later October they will have to adapt to the new normal. Which means moving to a new house that works for Brian. "They've given us options to remodel but it's not going to work for our family. Brian needs to be able to access every part of our home and that is not possible at this home," said Amy Ortner.

The family plans to build a new home in Stevens Point that is fully accessible.

Through it all they have all managed to stay positive. "I think I can stay so positive because he could have been dead. And we have really nice people that want to help us get back to where we were at and that has helped me stay positive because everybody else hasn't walked away from us," said Ortner.

The Halloween Aid Fright for Life in Wisconsin Rapids will be hosting their annual fundraising event on October 27. All proceeds will be going to Brian and his family. You can find more information on that event here.

If you would like to help you can find their donation page here.