Community rallies for special welcome home

                After five long months of recovery and rehabilitation over 700 miles away, Mark and Kendra Hay of rural Lynnville received a heartfelt community welcome home on Thursday, Mar. 26.

                Back on Oct. 21, Mark suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a farming accident that left him without the use of his arms and legs. He underwent a major surgery at the University of Iowa Hospital two days later and then on Oct. 31, was transported to the world-renowned Craig Hospital in Denver, CO, that exclusively specializes in neuro rehabilitation and research of spinal cord injury.

Mark and Kendra Hay, happy to be heading home after spending the last five months at Craig Hospital in Colorado.

                Kendra has been alongside Mark throughout the entire five months of recovery and rehab. During that time, Mark has worked hard to heal and regain strength and movement. Throughout the rehab journey, the community has rallied around the Hay family by purchasing “Never Give Up” shirts as a fundraiser and flooding the Hays with cards and notes of encouragement during his rehab journey in Colorado.

                When the family received word Mark would be released early, due to the coronavirus, they sprang into action and rallied community support once again for a welcome home “parade.” Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, fire trucks, and more, lined Lynnville’s main road Thursday evening to welcome Mark and Kendra home. Mark’s aunt and uncle, Jean and Roger Vander Kamp of Sully, drove Mark and Kendra from Colorado. Thursday evening, the final stretch of highway before they arrived at home was full of cheers, big smiles, and even some happy tears from everyone who had gathered.

                Since arriving home, Mark and Kendra will be quarantined for at least 14 days. It is vital they stay healthy to ensure continued healing. The family welcomes prayers as the long road of recovery continues.

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