Health Plus: Forklift accident survivor, part two - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Forklift accident survivor, part two


A freak accident changed one local man's life in seconds.

Charlie Heinemann was trapped under a forklift when the one he was driving flipped.

In Health Plus, how the Tripoli man is benefiting from physical therapy.

On July 14th Charlie Heinemann went from driving this forklift to being trapped underneath when it flipped.

"Then I remember yelling out, 'Somebody just lift this off of me,' because I thought it would be over and I could get up. It's on my legs. Get it off of me!"

The Tripoli man's crushed arm and legs have been repaired through four surgeries and a lot of physical therapy since he was airlifted to Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo.

"He could put a little bit of weight on one leg. No weight on the other leg. No weight on one arm. So he had one arm that he could use," says physical therapist Emily Mullen.

You've heard of no pain, no gain?

Well that's this 56-year-old's philosophy.

And the effort is paying off.

"He's already to the point where he's walking around and from the month ago when I saw him that's a lot different. He's already made a lot of progress in a month," says Mullen.

Charlie simply focuses on the goals he spelled out for the Covenant staff: be mobile for his grandchildren...

"Am I gonna play catch with my grandkids again?"

...and get back to volunteering in his community.

"Well, I gotta get back to all these things. You know, I wasn't going to let somebody else do my job up to the high school as far as running chain gang and doing the line judge and everything else. That's my job."

Charlie's never missed a Tripoli High School football game since he started working the chains in the early 80s.

Charlie and his wife, Linda, celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary the week before his accident.

Tara Thomas 

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