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No regrets from Bailey, injured during Tuscaloosa, Ala., tornado cleanup

Friday, April 27, 2012

(Photo)
Volunteering in Alabama following a tornado last spring, Roger Bailey (above) and a group from Bethel Baptist Church and Fillmore Christian Church clear debris from a yard in Pleasant Grove, Ala. While on the mission trip, Bailey sustained serious injuries when the roots of a large tree fell on him.
It's been a long 12 months for Roger Bailey.

A crushed hip, broken ribs, a broken vertebra and a collapsed lung on May 6, 2011 were only the beginning. Since then, Bailey has been through two rounds of rehab, with a total hip reconstruction in between.

However, on the one-year anniversary of the tornado that devastated Tuscaloosa, Ala., and ultimately led a group of volunteers from Fillmore, including Bailey, to the deep south, he has no regrets.

"I don't regret it at all," Bailey said. "My only regret was that I didn't get to do more."

What kept Bailey from doing more was a tree that fell on him during the cleanup efforts, pinning him from the lower ribs down. The muddy ground and the proximity of a truck to lift the tree off of Bailey minimized the injury, not that he remembers much of it.

"It's not all bad that I don't remember some of that," Bailey said. "In a lot of ways to me, it seems like it was more than a year ago."

It has been an eventful year, though. Following multiple surgeries in Alabama and a summer of physical therapy, Bailey had a full hip replacement on Aug. 4. Then the therapy started over.

"I did rehab and got to do rehab again," Bailey said.

Doctors have advised him it will take a full year after the surgery to regain all of his strength and motion.

"The hip's fine," he said. "I'm still just building up some basic strength. I'm basically able to do just about anything I want to."

The year has also been a chance for Bailey and wife Becky to enjoy retirement. After he retired from the Farm Service Agency in September 2010, a massive injury was a setback to their plans.

"That wasn't the way I planned to start my retirement," he said with a laugh.

A better proposition came along last winter, when Roger and Becky spent several months in Florida.

"We spent the winter in Florida and everyone told us how wonderful the winter was in Indiana," he said. "We got back the day before Easter and it's been bad here ever since."

Bailey's good humor and positive outlook have served him well and do not just extend to the weather. He and Becky have discussed taking a trip to the Henryville area to help with another disaster.

"My wife just says I can't be involved with any chainsaws and trees," Bailey said.



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