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Gornick makes steady progress

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River Falls,Wisconsin 54022 http://www.hudsonstarobserver.com/sites/all/themes/hudsonstarobserver_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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Gornick makes steady progress
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

A month after he was struck by 20,000 volts of electricity, John Gornick of Hudson continues to recover from burns over 75 percent of his body.

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Gornick, 36, is being treated at the Hennepin County Medical Center burn unit in Minneapolis. The accident took place in Minneapolis where Gornick, an electrician, was installing a utility pole. His condition is listed as critical. He recently underwent the first of many skin graft surgeries, which was successful. Other surgeries will follow as Gornick's undamaged skin regenerates and is available for grafting. He did not suffer any internal injuries.

The worst burns were to Gornick's legs and feet. His left side, including his arm and hand, were also burned. He is expected to be at HCMC through the summer and will likely spend time in a rehabilitation facility after that.

Megan Gornick said her husband's attitude has been an important part of his recovery process and to the overall well being of their family in the weeks following the accident.

"John's attitude has been incredible right from the start. You can't leave his room feeling sad or depressed because he is so upbeat. And because he is making progress there just isn't any other way to be."

Megan said her husband wasn't by nature as positive as he has been through this ordeal, but she says John now sees things differently. "He used to kind of see the glass as half empty but that's all changed. He says he remembers the moment it happened, and he saw his life flash in front of him and it changed him. He knows, we all do, how lucky he is to be alive and surrounded by his family and friends. We feel blessed to be together."

Megan, a teacher at Houlton Elementary School, said they have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from family, friends, co-workers and even strangers. The Web site created to keep people updated on John's condition has had more than 12,000 hits on it since it was created. Megan updates the site regularly and reads the messages and get-well wishes that have come from near and far.

"It means so much to us to have the support of so many people. We have heard from all over the country and further. We've heard from total strangers who just want to say they are praying for us. I want people to know that reading those messages is a great help to me, whether people write just once or 50 times. It means so much."

Many of the school district's employees have donated some or all of their personal time off to Megan so that she could remain at John's side and still receive her pay through the end of the school year. Her students and fellow teachers have remained in close contact with her since the accident. The students conducted a "quarter drive" on one of the last days of school. "They collected a couple hundred dollars in quarters for me to use to plug the parking meters."

The Gornicks' family and friends have also stayed close by. A group of their friends has been meeting at the family's home every Saturday since the accident to work on projects John had lined up for the summer months. They have already completed a new deck on the house and a patio and fire pit area. "I couldn't do it without them. It is a source of real strength for John and me."

Megan said their sons, Grady, 5, and Griffin, 3, are dealing with their father's accident as best they can, but they miss their father being home.

"But we are doing everything we can for them and they are surrounded by people who love them," said Megan. The boys make regular visits to see their dad in the hospital.

Megan said she can't say enough about the quality of care John is receiving at the HCMC burn unit. "They are the most compassionate and understanding group of people. They treat John and me with such respect and kindness. We are lucky to be in their care."

To check on John's condition, or to leave a message, go to www.caringbridge.org/wi/johngornick. A fund is also being set up to help the family offset expenses while Gornick recovers. For more information or to make a donation, contact First National Bank at (715) 386-5511.

Meg Heaton can be reached at mheaton@rivertowns.net

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Meg Heaton
Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
(715) 808-8604
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