Owning a home includes a certain amount of repair and improvement. A new kitchen, breaking down a wall, or, for Micheal Thiele, adding a deck was something he did to add value to his home. However, for Theile, things didn’t end up quite as he had planned.
Thiele, who is the New Car Manager at Team Chevy on 30, was finishing up his 9’x15’ deck, when he stepped off it backwards, expecting to climb back down his ladder as he had many times that day. However, the ladder kicked out and he fell about 13 feet.
“I smacked my head on the way down, breaking my neck,” recalled Thiele. “Thankfully, there was a contractor there who called 911.”
From there he was taken to St. Mary’s before being airlifted to Loyola for a pseudo-aneurism.
“I spent two days in ICU,” Thiele said. “Then I spent the next two months at home, bedridden in a waist-up neck brace.”
Most of us would be terrified in that moment, and probably panic. Thiele kept his cool, however, wiggling his fingers and toes, checking for paralysis.
“I was just grateful that I wasn’t paralyzed or dead,” said Thiele. “That fall could have gone so much worse.”
Thankfully, during his two-month recovery at home, he had an amazing support system in place. Family, friends, church members from Gracepoint, and Team Chevy all chipped in to help him.
A friend, Sonia Aarkelin, created and spearheaded a GoFundMe page to help defer the costs of his medical bills. Friends and church members prepared meals, so that his wife of 13 years, Jennifer, didn’t have to cook so she could concentrate on taking care of him and their five-year-old daughter, Adelyne. The contractor, Jim’s Carpentry, even agreed to finish his deck, free of charge.
“Team Chevy helped out so much while I was out,” said Thiele. “While I was out Dave Brubaker, the general manager, and Billy Wicks covered my shifts for two months.”
Thiele came back to work on December first in a smaller neck brace that he had to wear until just two weeks ago. When that last brace came off, Thiele said it was “definitely freeing.”
Now that he’s back at work, Thiele is back to helping people buy a car and loves doing it, just as he has for the last 7 years.
“I love helping people that come in here and don’t think they can buy a car, and they get to walk out with a car,” said Thiele. “We fight hard to get them that car, from Dave the general manager all the way down. The personalities and staff at Team Chevy all care about helping out.”
Friends, family, coworkers, and church-goers, and even anonymous donors all share in Thiele’s gratitude and thankfulness as he continues to heal and help others out at his job, his church, and in his community.
1856 W. US 30, Valparaiso, IN 46385
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