WEST OLIVE, Mich. (WOOD) — An Ottawa County paramedic remains in the hospital more than four months after a suspected drunk driver hit the ambulance he and his partner were in.
American Medical Response EMT Tim Hoffman was riding in the back of the ambulance when the the crash occurred on Blue Star Highway south of Holland. Both him and fellow EMT Kevin Jongekryg were hospitalized after the crash.
Thursday morning, surgeons placed a plate in his head where a bone was damaged and removed after the crash.
The Hoffman family was one of the first that Pastor Paul Wernlund of Ottawa Reformed Church met when he took the job in Michigan more than three years ago. Hoffman’s parents called him soon after the Aug. 7 crash.
They were camping up north and rushed back when they learned about their son.
“I could hear the fear, the nervousness,” Wernlund emotionally recalled during an interview with 24 Hour News 8. “What are we going to find when we get there?”
Pastor Wernlund said that’s the frightening question Hoffman’s parents wondered as they drove back to West Michigan, but they called on their faith.
“He’s a guy who always put his life on the line to help other people,” said Wernlund.
Hoffman is expected come home before Thanksgiving.
Wernlund talked to Hoffman who said he’s very excited about Thanksgiving dinner.
However, the path home hasn’t been easy. Hoffman has had to undergo several surgeries and received treatment at multiple area hospitals, and the medical expenses have continued to pile up.
This weekend the public has the opportunity to help ease the pain of missed wages and the many medical costs the family is facing.
On Sunday, the Tim Hoffman Benefit Concert will take place at 4 p.m. at Ottawa Reformed Church. Donations are encouraged and the Lake Effect Choir and Ah Men! will perform.
“This community has been amazing,” said Pastor Wernlund.
There’s been online messages of encouragement from strangers and other fundraisers for Hoffman.
AMR, Hoffman’s employer, is selling rubber bracelets. They’re marked with “201”- the rig Hoffman and his partner were in that early Sunday morning.
Hoffman’s dad, John, wrote this update on Facebook Wednesday:
Tim’s a happy guy today!!!! MFB [Mary Free Bed] did a home visit to see what’s needed for when Tim comes home for good next week. The smile on his face when he walked into their house was great. He laid on his bed with a “awe this is nice” and you can see how he enjoyed his couch (Anna and Kristen helped I think). Then he got to ride in his truck back to MFB. Tim made some good progress yesterday with numerous questions. He’s starting to get frustrated when he can’t come up with a word he’s trying to say and he asks about time. Good improvement with thinking.
Tim has surgery tomorrow [Thursday] morning at 7:30 to place the plate back in his head to replace the bone that’s been out since the accident. Please pray for him and the surgeon, pray that Tim doesn’t get infection and he’ll snap back (or better) from surgery. Thank you.”
After the surgery, John Hoffman wrote this update:
Tim’s out of surgery and resting in ICU. Surgery went well and Dr said no problems. THANK YOU so much for all the prayers and thoughts for Tim, over 675 likes on Facebook since last night! Still blown away by how many people are supporting us, very humbling!
If you can’t make it to the Sunday benefit concert you can mail a check to 11390 Stanton Street, West Olive, MI 49460, please mark “ATTN: Tim Hoffman Family.”
There’s also a GoFundMe page set up on the family’s behalf.