Benefit for Man Hit By Car Touches Community

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"Wow, I never thought I could feel this way,” says Dennis Ristau in amazement. “And that so many people care."

A year ago, Ristau and all the people who care for him, didn't think he'd see this benefit put on by the Eleva Lutheran Church.

"At first he wasn't supposed to live, and now we've gotten him back home again," says his wife, Cheryl Ristau, holding his hand.

After he was hit by a woman who was driving under the influence of prescription drugs, Ristau spent eight months in hospitals and a rehabilitation center in the Twin Cities, aptly named the Courage Center.

He says it took a lot of courage to recover.

"There's a lot of times that I feel, man, why am I doing this, but you just have to keep going and it'll get better,” Sometimes it just takes time."

He says as a physical therapist, he sees rehabilitation through the eyes of a patient now.

"Yeah, all you gotta do is keep doing this, and now it's like uggggh!" he describes his therapy.

Ristau says it was the love from his wife Cheryl, his family, and all his friends and co-workers that kept him going. He says he's shocked to find so many people who care.

"Just overwhelmed by the people that are here,” says Ristau. “It's just overwhelming the kindness they've shown."

Even though Judy Manchey doesn't know the Ristau family that well, she still wanted to help plan the chicken dinner and bake sale, because she says she knows what she's going through.

"I had a seriously ill child at one time, and I know how costly it can be," Manchey says.

No matter the cost Ristau has the will to get back to life before the accident.
He also has some advice for others who think it might be ok to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

"Don't do it!"

The Ristau family would like to thank all of the people through out the Chippewa Valley who have supported them in the past year.

All of the proceeds from Sunday's chicken dinner will go to the family.

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