Father Edward (Ned) Weist isn’t certain how he lost his footing and tumbled down a 25-foot ravine and into a rushing, rain-swollen creek, but he is certain that he had a guardian angel looking out for him. Fr. Ned of Our Lady of Christians Catholic Church in Litchfield, Ohio, fell into the creek behind the church while inspecting flood damage to a washed-out dam and bridge with church maintenance man Terry Leahy.
Terry climbed down into the ravine and into the ice-cold creek, lifting Fr. Ned’s head and neck out of the water for 45 minutes until firefighters could arrive and rescue him. He was taken to the hospital where he had surgery for a compound fracture of his left femur and a broken left wrist.
Because of the serious nature of his injuries, Fr. Ned needed extensive therapy and time to recover. He spent three months in short-term inpatient rehabilitation at Regina Health Center (RHC), participating in rehab every day to gain strength in his leg and range of motion in his wrist. Once his leg was strong enough to bear weight, his rehabilitation quickly progressed.
“The therapists, nurses, aides and entire staff were very supportive and did so much to help me. There was a real sense that they wanted me to get back to my parish and to ministry as soon as possible,” said Fr. Ned. “They really engendered confidence and enthusiasm.” Fr. Ned was discharged from RHC three months after being admitted. “Overall, I had a great experience. I felt spiritually, physically and emotionally well taken care of. It’s a very positive atmosphere.”