Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MASSV impact

Injured officer still recovering from last year’s event

Express Staff Writer

Corey Weatherly is recovering from injuries sustained last July while working as a security officer in Ketchum.
Courtesy photo

    “I see you’re waking up. What should I call you,” cooed the nurse at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise. It was where Corey Weatherly was coming to after being flown by emergency helicopter from Ketchum where the last thing he remembered well was severe pain and not being able to move.
    “You can call me stud,” he said. And as his eyes focused, he saw not only the “angel” nurse, but his wife, best friend Mike Abaid, Ketchum Chief Steve Harkins, and his current and former bosses at the Blaine County Sheriff’s Department. “I was an idiot.”
    Clearly, not everything was damaged in the accident, but Weatherly’s injuries during the MASSV music and arts event last year were life-changing, for his whole clan.
    “I hurt every day,” said the father of five, now resigned to light duty for the sheriff’s department and for the private security detail Stapleton Group Sun Valley, which he operates with Abaid and former Sheriff Walt Femling.
    When he was hurt last July, Weatherly was off duty from his work as a detective and the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team and working for the MASSV security. The incident occurred while he was standing in an alcove just north of the Casino bar in Ketchum during an after-party for the Music and Art Showcase Sun Valley. The festival drew a larger-than-anticipated crowd, which had been contained for the most part throughout, but by this time, things were getting a little rowdy and Weatherly and his fellow officers were talking about control measures when it happened.
    “I thought a speaker fell on me,” he recalled. “Then it was lights out, severe pain and couldn’t move.”
    It was a “who”—not a “what”—that fell on him. Police said it was 20-year-old Austin B. Cruz of Hailey. Cruz was transported to St. Luke’s Wood River where he was treated for bruises and broken facial bones.
    Cruz and other people reportedly gained access to a roof above Main Street from a ladder in the back.
    When Weatherly woke up, he was screaming and people he knew were working on him. He remembered being loaded into an ambulance and that was it.
    He now has a titanium plate with eight screws in his neck, and a six-inch inoperable blood clot in his jugular that requires treatment with blood thinners.
    “I’m not paralyzed,” he said. “They saved my life, but I may not have a career any more if I can’t get healthy. It changed my whole career path. My kids have seen me crippled in bed and crying. They worry how things are going to change.”
    But in the gratitude category, Weatherly said the MASSV organizers, including emergency-room doctor Brent Russell, founder of MASSV, his wife’s employers at Atlantic Aviation and his department and the district attorney’s office have been very supportive. From helping with meals to wood cutting, babysitting to trips to the doctor, it’s been unwavering since the incident nearly a year ago.  
    “I can’t offer enough praise to this community for taking care of us,” he said. “It’s been overwhelming every step of the way. I just want to say thanks and to tell everyone we are staying positive.”
    His focus and his wife’s, who has his boundless respect for staying strong through it all, has now shifted to one of their daughters, who is having troubling but as-yet-undiagnosed health issues.
    About the fundraiser scheduled for Friday in Ketchum, he said he wasn’t even aware of its existence until a few weeks ago.
    And he was, uncharacteristically, without words. But what he wants to impress upon readers is his respect for the staff of St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center with a special shout out to Dr. Keith Sivertson and also to Sun Valley Fire Department’s Taan Robran.
    “I can’t say enough about this community. If you are going to get hurt, this is the place you want to be.”

Help Corey Weatherly
Attend the party at Whiskey Jacques’ in Ketchum on Friday, May 31, from 6:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. See Around Town on Page C7 for more details.


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