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She didn’t know insurance passwords or how to pay certain bills. She hadn’t pumped gas in 15 years.

“I was spoiled,” she said. Through necessity, she’s a little more self-sufficient today.

Lee expects to leave NHRMC and travel to his Ingold home soon. How he will get there is still being decided. The family needs a van that seats seven and has a lift - those aren’t cheap, Tom said.

Lee has prosthetic legs for stability, and he’ll get his “walkers” once the swelling reduces in his legs. He still wants to throw Frisbees and play whiffle ball and fish with his children - “all the things daddies do,” he said. How much he’ll be able to do remains to be seen. “I’ve never been an amputee before so I don’t know,” he said.

Certainly, Lee’s outlook has changed. Nikki has seen him shed tears - something she said he wouldn’t have allowed before his hospitalization.

But the same heart resides within the gentle giant - a man who has fostered dozens of orphans, who has adopted eight children, who has traveled to undeveloped countries to minister to the people.

“It didn’t change who he is,” said Tom, seated a few feet from his father’s wheelchair. “I’m just happy that he’s still here. It makes me appreciate him much more. In my eyes, nothing has changed.”

And with that, he pulled out a tissue, walked over to his father’s wheelchair and wiped away one of his father’s tears.


Information from: The StarNews,