Sister struggling after crash

To the editor:

My sister, Evelyn Deitz-Smith and her husband, Craig Smith, was in a tragic car accident on Aug. 18, 2020. They were in a 35 mph speed zone, just moments from their home, when they were struck from behind by a driver allegedly going over 85 mph. Evelyn broke her back in two places and fractured her neck. She endured 10 hours of surgery and has no feelings from the waist down. She cannot move her neck due to surgery and a neck brace that limits her to look straight ahead. Over the past several weeks, she has built up the strength to move her left arm and we are optimistic that eventually her right arm will recover. Although she cannot walk and she has been separated from her family due to COVID-19 governed guidelines, she still manages to smile. She has such a positive outlook and strong faith in God. Her desire to be sent home to her family keeps her motivated. Craig’s injuries are not as severe as Evelyn’s and we are so thankful they have both survived.

This is a life changing experience that is hard to imagine. Her house is not handicapped accessible and although many people suggest or recommend she should move into a ranch style home, that simply is not an option, nor does she want to leave her home. It cost money that she simply does not have and she loves her current home. Her case is still listed as “under investigation” and there is no quick solution to resolve her at home living obstacles. Applications have been filled out with Community Action Services, Habitat for Humanity and Ohio Home Care Waiver. These are all lengthy processes and due to the pandemic, once approved, it may take a minimum waiting period of six months before Community Action Services can assist her.

She needs a wheelchair ramp, her bathroom handicap accessible, doors widened along with many other household adjustments. We appreciate all the prayers, and are grateful to all the men and women who have helped during these most difficult times. “Thank You” to Tom Hosack and his brother Bob Hosack for their assistance. Also, to Indian Lake Catfish Trail for their fundraiser that raised $2,000 towards the cost of making her home wheelchair accessible. There is a lot more work that needs completed and if you would like to make a contribution, or send her an encouraging message, please contact her daughter, Sarah at 937-658-0788.

Deb Phelps