Community turns out to help man who lost leg in train accident

Published: Saturday, Sept. 22 2012 7:00 p.m. MDT

GRANTSVILLE  – “Thanks for coming!”

 Amy Juhasz wished she could say more.  But simple is all she could think of, as people lined up to buy items in a big yard sale she organized.

 “We have not had to worry about the turnout at all. It has been absolutely incredible," said Juhasz, as tears appeared underneath her sunglasses.

 She and several others set up shop outside the Grantsville Fire Department on Saturday.  Clothes, electronics, books, furniture, and other household items sat on tables as hundreds of people picked through them.

 This was more than your ordinary Saturday yard sale.  All the money raised will go to 33-year old Jim Hodgson, who lost his leg Sept. 7. He was working at Utah Fabrication in Tooele when he tried to stop a boxcar train using a handbrake.

 But he lost his footing and slipped  under the slow-moving train. The wheels ran over both his legs. Doctors had to amputate one, and performed several surgeries on the other.

 “I don't know how you deal with something like this,” said Hodgson’s cousin, Andi Blackmer, “It's so hard and he's been so positive. It’s so nice to see so many people just go out of their way to help Jim and his family. I just can’t tell you how grateful we are."

 Hodgson,  married with three children, is getting workman’s compensation from the accident, but his family says that won’t pay for everything. There are more surgeries to come and a long rehabilitation process.

 “Even after he gets to come home, it's still going to be a long road before he finally gets to be done and there are still a number of surgeries,” said Blackmer.

 Bill Brandon bought $200 in raffle tickets to help the family.

 “It’s worth it. It’s going to a great cause," Brandon said.

 Family and friends say Hodgson is doing well, and already wants to do things for himself.

 "He wanted to put himself in the wheelchair and he wouldn't let anybody wheel him around,” said Ben Hardman, Hodgson’s best friend, “That's the kind of attitude Jim has."

It was not immediately clear how much money was raised Saturday.  But the single-day sale is not the only way to help.  The family put together a fundraising page at http://www.indiegogo.com/jimhodgsonrecovery.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

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