Cardington’s Tom Brandum comes home
By Evelyn Long -
The Cardington fire house without the fire engines in it, is a large vacant cavity but on August 18 it was filled with warmth, laughter and a sense of thankfulness because one of its fireman had returned.
More than 300 friends, family, co-workers and colleagues were on hand to welcome Tom Brandum “home.” The event was a thank you from the Brandum family to all who had helped young Brandum during his recovery from the accident that happened on May 30.
On that date, Brandum, enroute home on his motorcycle, from his job at the Edison Co-Op, was confronted by a pickup truck turning left in front of him at a curve just north of Cardington. Brandum slid under the truck causing the fuel tank to rupture and fire erupt, engulfing him in flames. Immediately, passers by stopped and ran to pull him from under the vehicle– among them were Dr. James Prothman, DVM, Pam Meyer, Amy Lester, Earl Linder, James Bailey and Holly McMillen.
Calls were made to the EMS at both Mount Gilead and Cardington and the latter arrived in a matter of minutes along with Cardington Fire Chief Jim Ullom. Brandum was take by Med-Flight helicopter to OSU Hospital where he was found to have sustained a broken wrist, jaw, knee cap, nose and a basal skull fracture.
During the next 63 days, 30 of them in ICU, he underwent 11 surgeries and skin grafts, and was treated for infection at one point. The plucky man returned home on August 1 escorted from I-71/61 by members of the Cardington Fire Department, whose members include his brother, Joey. He is currently undergoing therapy at Morrow County Hospital.
The Brandums honored the six who helped save their loved on, by recognizing them with plaques and gift cards.
Doc and Karolyn Brandum, Tom’s parents, thanked all who helped in anyway during the time that their son was in the hospital. Joining them with thanks were Tom’s brothers, Joey and Doug and their wives.
Doc said he and his wife were home when their son, Joey, called at 5:15 pm and said there was a wreck on “Levering’s Curve,” and “when we tried to call Tom and got no answer and knowing that would be about the time he would be coming through there on his way home, we got in the car and went to the site.”
Amy Lester and her husband, Scott, were enroute to a ball game at Mount Gilead when they came upon the accident. “I tried to get his shirt off,” she said, and she asked for water to pour over him. Pam Meyer, enroute home after working in Cardington, saw a flash of fire and thought a car was on fire but when she got closer, she could see the accident and called 911. A former EMT, she helped to pull Brandum out, too, and stayed until the EMS came. Dr. James Prothman, was also passing by and stopped to help pull him from under the truck. Tom was wearing his helmet at the time of the accident. All stayed with him until he was flown out.
The Brandum family said this joyous occasion was one in which they wanted to thank everyone who had helped them with food, prayers, visits, encouragement, etc.
They especially thanked the Big Walnut Fire Department who had conducted a “Boot Drive,” raising $1600 for the family. They thanked all who brought the food for the welcome home party and directed special thanks to Doug Westbrook, Howie’s BBQ Express. They also named the Cardington Fire Department, the Mount Gilead Fire Department, Squad 2 and EMS 9.
Tom’s mother, spent all but three nights at her son’s side and his father joined her on many of those nights.
Doc thanked all who prayed for their son and led prayer chains. He also thanked the American Legion Post 97 for loaning the tables for the event.
Grandparents present included Jackie Bird of Chesterville, who said ‘I had the same feeling ever since Karol called -‘God provided the care he needed.’ I give God all the credit. I look for Tommy to be completely well and I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns. They’ve been a blessing to us.”
Grandfather Clayton Brandum said “I made several trips to see him and I want to thank all who prayed for him. I had friends and family from as far away as Florida praying for him.”
Tom quietly greeting all who congratulated him, said, “I have heartfelt thanks to all, especially those first six on the scene.”