MONROEVILLE This community bonded together Sunday to help one of its own. Matt Missey, owner of the Wooden Eagle on Baker Street in Monroeville, was carving a Jesus figure out of a large piece of wood March 26 when a near-disaster occurred.
Missey told the story Sunday at a spaghetti benefit and auction held for him at the Trinity Lutheran Church.
"It was the first day of a big carving," he said. "I was removing the big chunks of wood and that's the most dangerous day. I had it all planned out when I would stop and clean up that day. Well, I stopped and started to clean up and then looked up at it and thought I could get the head and face carved in another 20 minutes.
"I didn't trip and I didn't stumble when I was carving, but I put my food where there was no board and fell backward 5 or 6 feet," Missey said. "The chain saw fell on the scaffolding and I fell on my back on a piece of wood I had carved."
Missey said he couldn't breathe. "I knew I had hurt myself bad. I heard the bones break. I was able to stand up so I knew my back wasn't broke."
Missey said he was very disoriented and knew he couldn't drive. He made his way slowly to the his truck to get his cell phone. He managed to get it down (from the visor), "but I couldn't dial the phone. I was all confused. I finally called my wife and she called 9-1-1."
Missey was taken to Fisher-Titus Medical Center and later flown to University Hospital in Toledo. He ended up having several broken ribs, but so far, no serious internal injuries have been detected.
He did say he's had a hard time sleeping and has three vertebrae out of place and also has a pinched nerve.
Missey said since he's self-employed he doesn't receive workers' compensation or unemployment.
That's where his church, Trinity Lutheran, stepped in.
The spaghetti benefit and auction Sunday raised $4,000 to help Missey with his medical bills. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans donated another $1,000 for a total of $5,000.
"I never expected this," Missey said.
The Rev. Amy Little, pastor of Trinity Lutheran, said Missey is a generous person.
"Matt is always giving," she said. "People want to give back to you. It's a gift to them to let them help you. He was very humbled by it."
Little said once word of the benefit got around, the phone didn't stop ringing.
"The cool thing was all the wood carvers calling," she said. "They've showed up from all around Ohio and brought wood carvings for the auction."
Little said many others also helped. "McDonald's donated drinks and Schild's (IGA), Apple's and Gardner's all donated and Bores Manufacturing donated $150 toward the food. Subway donated parmesan cheese. Don Mossman donated an electric guitar."
The benefit was big, as it included 70 pounds of sauce, 60 pounds of spaghetti, 25 pounds of salad and at least 5 pounds of cheese.
Missey lives in the Monroeville area with his wife, Kathy, and their three children.