Like many others, Brodie Godlien views his STARS mission as a turning point.
He had celebrated his 19th birthday just three days before the horrific incident that changed his life.
“I was young and naïve, but my ordeal made me grow up quickly,” said Brodie. “It gave me a completely different outlook on life and what it’s really about.”
It was Brodie’s eighth day on the job at a truss manufacturing plant when his jeans caught on lumber he was feeding through a roller press machine. In seconds, he was pulled up onto the feeding table, and, despite his struggles, his legs were drawn between two large drum rollers.
A friend and co-worker heard Brodie’s screams and rushed to stop and reverse the equipment. Still, both of his legs were crushed below the knee.
“Our local ambulance attendants and doctors had never seen such a trauma,” recalled Brodie. “They immediately stabilized and sedated me and called for STARS.”
That day, the winds blew heavily and STARS was not able to land at the scene. So Brodie was sent via ground ambulance to a safe rendezvous point, where STARS met him and airlifted him to hospital.
After hours of surgery, both of Brodie’s legs were amputated below the knees. Weeks later, his back was stripped twice of all his skin to graft onto his legs. After four months of reconstructive surgeries and six months of rehabilitation, he learned to walk again on prosthetic legs. It was an excruciating process, and one that would continue for years. But with the help of family, friends, the community, and Lisa, his then high school sweetheart, Brodie was determined to make as full a recovery as possible.
“If you’re mentally strong and have a good support network, you can overcome anything,” said Brodie.
Today, Brodie works full-time as a logging processor. He and Lisa are married and have two children, a milestone Brodie couldn’t see happening after his accident. Now he can’t imagine his life without five year-old Bentley and three year-old Bauer, and he lives for swimming, biking, wrestling and playing with them.
“STARS gave me the chance to live like a normal human being,” said Brodie. “They’re definitely heroes.”
Lisa agrees: “STARS is such a crucial lifeline in our medically limited region. Without them, he wouldn’t be here.”