Osseo fire chief home recovering from amputation

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

OSSEO, Wisc. (WEAU) Nine days after a rototiller accident ended in amputation, the Osseo fire chief is back home, regaining strength through an outpouring of community support.

Nels Gunderson said a normal sunday preparing the corn field at his rural Osseo home with his son, took a quick turn when he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"It was three seconds from being fine to the rototiller trying to eat me alive ... It was starting to take my whole body in," Gunderson said.

Suffering severe blood loss, Gunderson said he used his belt as a tourniquet, had his son call 9-1-1 for a helicopter, and then call his brother Kirk, a Mayo Clinic flight paramedic.

"(The quick actions of firefighters and first responders are) why I'm home here today ... because within an hour, I went from Osseo to Mayo on the surgery table." "I knew ... if I'm gonna make it, I'm gonna make it. With this crew here, if I don't make it, there was nothing we could do about it."

In Rochester, Gunderson said he soon found out his leg needed to be amputated below the knee, but after his surgery last Tuesday, he was able to go home just three days later.

Gunderson said the hardest part is giving enough thanks to everyone who has shown him support.

"I'm not the only guy who lost a leg, I wasn't in Iraq fighting for my country, I made a mistake an paid the price. This support is unbelievable."

He said he wants to get back to work after regaining his strength, and is looking for a new leg that can handle all he has planned.

"(I need to) go to work, hunting, fishing go to a fire, do what I gotta do ... As long as I can do what I need to do."

He said he hopes others can learn from what happened to him.

"(Responders) are trained professionals. Use them to take care of you and your family. They'll do it, support them." "I hope we can get back on our feet to return the favor."

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