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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Welcome Back..Don Herbert!

    For you old geezers.....This Don Herbert is the NEW Mr Wizard!
    God bless you Donald!


    By CAROLYN THOMPSON
    Associated Press Writer
    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Ten years after a firefighter was left
    brain-damaged and mostly mute during a 1995 roof collapse, he did
    something that shocked his family and doctors: He perked up.
    "I want to talk to my wife," Donald Herbert said out of the
    blue Saturday. Staff members of the nursing home where he has lived
    for more than seven years raced to get Linda Herbert on the
    telephone.
    It was the first of many conversations the 44-year-old patient
    had with his wife, four sons and other family and friends during a
    14-hour stretch, Herbert's uncle Simon Manka said.
    "How long have I been away?" Herbert asked.
    "We told him almost 10 years," the uncle said. "He thought it
    was only three months."
    Herbert was fighting a house fire Dec. 29, 1995, when the roof
    collapsed, burying him under debris. After going without air for
    several minutes, Herbert was comatose for 2 1/2 months and has
    undergone therapy ever since.
    News accounts in the days and years after his injury describe
    Herbert as blind and with little, if any, memory. Video shows him
    receiving physical therapy but apparently unable to communicate and
    with little awareness of his surroundings.
    Manka declined to discuss his nephew's current condition, or
    whether the apparent progress was continuing. The family was
    seeking privacy while doctors evaluated Herbert, he said.
    "He's resting comfortably," the uncle said.
    As word of Herbert's progress spread, a steady stream of
    visitors arrived at the Father Baker Manor nursing home in this
    Buffalo suburb.
    "He stayed up 'til early morning talking with his boys and
    catching up on what they've been doing over the last several
    years," firefighter Anthony Liberatore told WIVB-TV.
    Herbert's sons were 14, 13, 11 and 3 when he was injured.
    Staff members at the nursing facility recognized the change in
    Herbert, Manka said, when they heard him speaking and "making
    specific requests."
    "The word of the day was `amazing,"' he said.
    Dr. Rose Lynn Sherr of New York University Medical Center said
    when patients recover from brain injuries, they usually do so
    within two or three years.
    "It's almost unheard of after 10 years," she said, "but
    sometimes things do happen and people suddenly improve and we don't
    understand why."
    Manka said visitors let Herbert set the pace of the
    conversations and did not bring up the fire in which he was
    injured.
    "The extent and duration of his recovery is not known at this
    time," Manka said. "However we can tell you he did recognize
    several family members and friends and did call them by name."
    ---
    On the Net:
    Father Baker Manor: http://www.chsbuffalo.org/body.cfm?id982


    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Welcome back Don! I heard this on the local news last night. It is great that his family will get to speak with him again.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  3. #3
    Forum Member TCFire's Avatar
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    Smile

    This has been one of the big stories locally since the weekend. This is fantastic news.....along with the lost-at-sea boys in Carolina this must be the week for miracles! Welcome back Don!

  4. #4
    Forum Member TCFire's Avatar
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    Silent since 1995, firefighter talks



    Herbert visits with family for 16 hours

    By GENE WARNER
    News Staff Reporter
    5/3/2005

    It happened early Saturday afternoon, at about 1:30 or 2. Buffalo Firefighter Donald Herbert, sitting in a wheelchair in the hallway of his Orchard Park nursing home, looked out the window and asked where his wife, Linda, was.

    Staff members couldn't have been more stunned.

    For more than nine years, Herbert has suffered from a profound brain injury after being badly injured in a December 1995 fire, when a roof collapsed on him. Buried under debris and without air for six minutes, he lapsed into a coma for the next 21/2 months.

    Since then, he has been unable to see, verbally recognize loved ones' voices or carry on any kind of meaningful conversation.

    That all changed Saturday and early Sunday. For about 16 hours, until roughly 6 a.m. Sunday, the 43-year-old Herbert remained awake. He visited with his wife and sons, some fellow firefighters and other close friends who rushed to his room in Father Baker Manor.

    He kept asking where and how his wife and four sons were. He recognized the voices of loved ones. And he was responsive.

    "Donny, you feel OK?" one relative asked him.

    "I feel great," he replied.

    At another point, Herbert asked how long he had been "under" and was told it had been almost 10 years.

    "I thought it was three months," he replied.

    Relatives were thrilled - but extremely cautious - Monday, stressing that doctors have to examine Herbert, to see what this means.

    "He was cognizant, able to recognize people's voices and recall who his family members and friends were," Simon F. Manka, his uncle and the family spokesman, said Monday. "But there's still room for a lot of improvement."

    Family members said that after the 16-hour interaction with his loved ones, Herbert fell into an almost uninterrupted sleep, for at least the next 30 hours.

    What really stunned Herbert's family and friends was the suddenness of the change.

    "From what I understand, this is a sea change that is not incremental, but something that is light-switch different," said attorney Thomas H. Burton, a family friend who represented Linda Herbert in the family's personal-injury lawsuit. "What has occurred is so stunning, I don't know how you can call it anything but a miracle."

    Medical experts say it's impossible to say, and way too early to tell, what the consequences are for Herbert.

    Dr. Michael A. Meyer, a University at Buffalo professor of clinical neurology at Jacobs Neurological Institute, said such changes are both encouraging and rare. But they do occur.

    "After that many years, it's unusual to see that dramatic a change," he said. "But we do hear about it anecdotally."

    In most similar cases, Meyer said, the progress reaches a plateau at some point.

    "In rare cases like this, there may be improvement over months or years," he said. "But where the plateau is, is anybody's guess."

    Manka talked about how emotional it was, after all these years, to have his nephew recognize his voice and call him by name. Family members were trying to stay on an even keel.

    Despite the family's caution, speculation already began to surface Monday about Herbert's possible recovery being used as a miracle in the bid to make Father Nelson Baker of Lackawanna a saint. There were unconfirmed reports that Herbert has at least one photo or other artifact of Father Baker in his room.

    Monsignor Robert C. Wurtz, the local leader of the Father Baker canonization bid, said he had no information on the situation, other than what he has heard indirectly. For anything to happen, the family would have to come forward.

    "I'm open to meet with them," Wurtz said.

    At a brief news conference Monday at the nursing home, Manka issued this plea to the public about Herbert's condition:

    "Keep praying, please wait while we have him evaluated and respect his family's privacy," he said.

    As Burton said of the dramatic change, "If this is something that took place through divine intervention, I'm doing my best to help it along with a lot of prayer

    http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial...03/1038453.asp

  5. #5
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    This is absolutely the best news in the world! I am buying completely into the "divine intervention" theory.

    It is a great thing that he had a loving wife who chose to provide the very best in care and never gave up hope.

  6. #6
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    I just saw this on CNN and checked in to see if it had been posted here. Happily, it was. Great news.
    God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
    Google Is Your Friend™Helpful forum tip - a "must see" if you're new here
    Click this to search FH Forums!

  7. #7
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    Brain dead for 9 years...I've known some firemen to be brain dead for their entire careers!

    On a serious note I'm glad to hear the brother is improving and he got to speak to his family. Its hard to imagine what he missed since 1995! His one child was 3 and is now 13! wow!

    Godspeed bro.

    FTM-PTB

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber sbfdco1's Avatar
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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    This is absolutely the best news in the world! I am buying completely into the "divine intervention" theory.

    It is a great thing that he had a loving wife who chose to provide the very best in care and never gave up hope.
    I couldn't agree more. Welcome Back Don!
    Jim
    Firefighter/EMT
    IACOJ
    ftm-ptb-rfb-egh-ktf-dtrt!

    September 11, 2001 - NEVER FORGET!

    BETTER TO DIE ON YOUR FEET THAN LIVE ON YOUR KNEES!

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber ffemtPAJ's Avatar
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    Default welcome back!

    This is a miracle!! My heart goes out to the wife who stood by him all these years. When I was 27, my husband was in a coma for 8 days and I was told there was little chance of recovery. I still remember when I got the call that he opened his eyes and spoke. I can only imagine what it would be like for it to happen after nine years. I'm teary-eyed just thinking about it. Bless you Don and my thoughts are with you and your family.
    PAJ

    IACOJ Rehab Sector

  10. #10
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TCFire
    Silent since 1995, firefighter talks
    YOu know chief, I was just going to post the same thing but thought I should check the site first.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  11. #11
    Forum Member TCFire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Lewiston2Capt


    YOu know chief, I was just going to post the same thing but thought I should check the site first.
    You can't have too much good news!

  12. #12
    Forum Member Rescue2947's Avatar
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    Since Lew found I was lost!. I would just like to give prayer and wish all involved a happy and fast recovery!. What a happy turn of events, from such a sad and unfortunate situation.

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up

    What a great story...welcome back Brother!
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber SkipJack270's Avatar
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    The Big Chief does it again. As somebody said, a Brother wakes up, and two boys are given a second chance. On the docket for tommorow is....
    Isiah 43: When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    9-11-01. We Will Never Forget You.

  15. #15
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    This is excellent news!!! Welcome back, Brother!!!
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
    IACOJ

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber SkipJack270's Avatar
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    Does anybody know anybody who can get this post to Don Herbert? He might like to see the support and welcome backs.
    Isiah 43: When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    9-11-01. We Will Never Forget You.

  17. #17
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Originally posted by SkipJack270
    Does anybody know anybody who can get this post to Don Herbert? He might like to see the support and welcome backs.
    Perhaps one of our Buffalo brothers can help us here? Anyone?
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  18. #18
    Forum Member TCFire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by NJFFSA16


    Perhaps one of our Buffalo brothers can help us here? Anyone?
    Shawn.....Sounds like the family is trying to take things slow and easy for now. Maybe R1's Captain would be willing? You would see him long before me.
    Last edited by TCFire; 05-04-2005 at 08:24 AM.

  19. #19
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    This is the best firefighting news in a while - after all the recent gloom following a lot of LODD's it's great to get some good news at last.

    Best wishes to Firefighter Herbert and his family.
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

    ...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!

  20. #20
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    I was thinking the very same thing last night. I will try to get in touch with him shortly so that he can relay the message on to the family. I will let you know how it goes.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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