Firefighters are used to doing battle with the forces of nature, but on June 28, one Ohio firefighter was seriously injured, not by fire, but by something less expected: a lightning strike.
Now he's struggling to reclaim his life.
TheBlaze reported on the incident, in which Lt. Stuart Tudor was struck by lightning ahead of an MLS soccer game in Columbus, Ohio, and went into cardiac arrest, and this week, his girlfriend Lisa Watford reached out with updates on his recovery — and a request for help.
"He was tragically struck by lightning and has been hospitalized ever since," Watford wrote. "We are now four months into this, with our future unknown. We are looking at a lifetime of hospitals, doctors, rehab facilities, home care, and the list goes on and on."
Watford said that Tudor had suffered a particularly devastating lightning strike, as the lightning hit him in the head and the electricity traveled down across his entire body.
"No one usually lives through this type of lightning strike, so we literally have no information to go on," she told TheBlaze, saying that Tudor's prospects for recovery remain unclear and doctors aren't even sure how to proceed with treatment.
"Our future is unknown at this time," Watford said, "and there isn’t a doctor to be found that can give us any answers."
In order to support Tudor, who is a 23-year veteran of the Columbus firefighting force, Watford has set up a GoFundMe page, asking for help to defray the costs of Tudor's ongoing care.
"Stu is conscious, and had no lack of oxygen to the brain, so he remembers everything up until that day, and he is getting stronger, at a very very very slow pace!" Watford told TheBlaze. "We are optimistic, yet cautious because we really have no clue what he will be able to do or not."
In a Columbus Dispatch article, Andy Ward, a police officer who worked with Tudor, recalled a running joke between the pair: Tudor would ask, “Why did God make firemen? So cops had heroes to look up to.”
Ward said he would jokingly greet Tudor with, “What’s up, hero,” whenever they saw one another.
As he struggles to recover from a catastrophic lightning strike, Tudor's return to firefighting remains uncertain — but in the eyes of Watford and Ward, at least, he remains a hero.
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