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Hit And Run Firefighter Has Long Road Ahead To Heal

Facebook John Houdeshell

On September 3rd, a fireman on the Terwilliger Fire near Blue River was hit while crossing Highway 126. The driver did not stop. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert brings us this update on the firefighter’s injuries and what his future holds.

71 year-old John Houdeshell drives a water tender. When fire season starts, he goes where he’s needed. That’s why he was in the McKenzie River Valley—to help fight the Terwilliger Fire.

Credit Tiffany Eckert
Ryan Houdeshell came from near Sacramento, CA after his father's hit and run accident and has remained at his bedside.

Today, Houdeshell is in a hospital bed, slowly healing from 4 major surgeries to repair broken bones and trauma to his upper body. Son Ryan says thankfully, his father does not remember being hit by a mini-van and left for dead.  

Ryan took early retirement from the California Highway Patrol to be able to be with his dad in hospital. He says doctors expect at least three more weeks before his dad can go to rehab.

“Then the starting process of learning how to walk all over again," Ryan says. " Be able to take care of himself.”

Ryan says his father is determined to return to his physical health before the accident.

“He wants to go back to fire season and help out all over again. Regardless of what happened this year.”

Ryan says his father has Medicare and some insurance through Veteran’s Affairs but he fears that won’t cover the medical expenses racking up.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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