A Portland woman has been reunited with her prosthetic leg after it was lost in the Clackamas River.
On July 27, Ariel Rigney and several friends came to McIver State Park to float the river in celebration of her 32nd birthday.
“Every year, I like to do a birthday float,” Rigney said, as reported by KGW 8.
Rigney’s leg was lost below the knee after a car crash when she was a teenager. Her prosthetic leg has made it possible for her to stay active. “I can still swim, hike, bike and run,” she said.
Despite having a prosthetic leg, Rigney floated the river. However, the bungee cord that attached her prosthetic leg to the raft came undone.
“We just hit a big bump and the leg went pfrewwww!” said Jacob Morton, Rigney’s friend who attempted to save Rigney’s leg. “It became pretty obvious pretty quickly that we didn’t have the resources to get the leg.”
Rigney thought that there was no way to retrieve it.
“I just saw it bobbing and I’m like, ‘No!’ I felt more ridiculous than anything. Like, who loses a leg, twice?” she said.
A friend of hers suggested posting about her lost prosthetic on Facebook.
A day later, Eric Gantner from Tigard went snorkeling in the Clackamas River near McIver State Park. He was not aware of Rigney’s lost leg.
Gantner has found lots of thingamabobs in the Clackamas.
“You find all kinds of stuff down there,” Gantner said. “It’s crazy.”
He first saw a rainbow-colored Keens sandal, then realized it was attached to a prosthetic leg.
“When you see that, you’re like uh, what? What is that?” Gantner said. “I go, ‘So, somebody had a really bad day.’”
When Gantner returned home, he searched Facebook for leads.
“I searched, ‘Lost leg Clackamas River,’ and sure enough this came up,” Gantner said. He sent Rigney a message.
“He was like, ‘Hey, I was snorkeling the Clackamas, saw your post about the leg. I think I found it?’” Rigney said. “I was like, that’s it!”
In the evening on July 28th, the two met each other. Gantner gave Rigney her leg and Rigney purchased a beer for Gantner.
“It was nice,” Rigney said. “I’m really glad he was willing to sit and chat and hang out, as opposed to just, ‘Here’s the leg, OK, bye.”
Gantner was glad to chat.
“I was like, ‘There’s a story behind this. I gotta hear about your day!’”
The prosthetic was found, and so was a friendship.
“I just can’t get over it,” Rigney said. “I feel very charmed.”
Read the story and watch an interview with Rigney and Gantner here.
Read Rigney’s Facebook post about her experience here.
An Oregon dad from McMinnville was captured by video, entertaining cows with his saxophone music. The video has been spread all over social media and is making people smile worldwide.
Rick Herrmann serenaded the cows with Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” and the Champs’ “Tequila” on his saxophone. On Twitter, the performance had accumulated more than 10 million views.
Herrmann told Fox News 12 that he was shocked and overwhelmed by the response his video has received.
“It just seemed to resonate with so many people, so many people said they had a hard day and they watched it and it put a smile on their face,” Rick Herrmann said.
To humor FOX 12 recently, Herrmann tried to duplicate that moment. But it appears that not all cows are saxophone fans. That prompted Herrmann and a FOX 12 reporter to go further down the road to find the previous audience.
The same cows from the popular viral video drew close for the encore.
According to Herrmann, he began playing the saxophone about seven months ago, just to make people happy. But he didn’t know that it would be this many people so soon.
Read this story here.
Peter Lutz was hesitant about riding his son’s motorcycle.
Not even a week had passed since 24-year-old Pearce Lutz passed away in a Seattle hospital June 16 from injuries received in a racing crash.
After the crash, his friends added neon green fairings bearing No. 105 from the newer bike Pearce was riding when he crashed. That same motorcycle was the one Pearce rode when he achieved a much sought-after championship in 2018. His friends desired it to be a memorial to the paramedic from Keizer who devoted his life to serving others.
The scrape marks on the Kawasaki were reminders of lessons Pearce learned when he began road racing over that past few years.
The Life Flight decal represented the helicopter service that carried Pearce from remote Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington to Harborview Hospital in Seattle.
Relatives and friends of Pearce Lutz arrived at Portland International Raceway for the Oregon Motorcycle Road Racing Association’s Lap of Honor.
Peter Lutz hadn’t been on a motorcycle since his son’s infancy, but just before the riders were called to the grid, he decided: Pearce would have desired him to ride.
He requested his son’s mentor, Cody Cochran, who jump-started an online fundraiser that raised over $27,000 to assist in paying for Pearce’s care, for a helmet to borrow.
Peter Lutz moved up to the front of the grid to join the dozens of other riders.
“I think it helped other people, too, to see his bike back out there,” Peter Lutz said, as reported by The Statesman Journal.
A memorial service for Pearce was held on June 29 at Salem Armory.
From the beginning, Pearce Lutz was motivated to serve others.
He was raised in Salem, earned his EMT certification at 18 and began working for Rural Metro in Eugene. He ended up in the residency program with Polk County Fire District, and then went back to Chemeketa Community College’s paramedicine program and was hired as a paramedic for Falck Salem.
Pearce followed in the footsteps of his mother, a nurse at Salem Hospital, into the medical field, but racing was his own idea.
He bought his first motorcycle when he was 19 and racing turned into a passion of his.
He was interested in road racing when he learned about the OMRRA and offered to be a corner worker at races in Portland.
He wasn’t content.
His first race took place in the 2017 season, and he was excited, but his start was not promising.
He crashed on the first of the two-day program. Despite this, he recovered, and came back the next day placing second in the race. However, he crashed on the cool-down lap.
“He had a concussion,” his mother Pennie said. “He was fine, nothing major.”
The reason for his crash was that a wheel bearing had frozen, making the rear wheel lock up, something that required new parts to fix.
“It was enough he didn’t have the money and the time to fix it to race for the rest of the year,” Peter Lutz said.
Pearce’s family had grown accustomed to gathering at races. His then-girlfriend Brooke Wolkenhauer, a respiratory therapist at Salem Hospital, would also join them.
Lutz got back on the track in 2018, and regardless of a steep learning curve, he won his first race his fourth time out and earned his spot on the podium late in the season.
Heading into the last event, he had a tight points battle with Jeffery Toevs, competing for the 600 Novice championship. It was the last event and Pearce needed to win each race at P.I.R. to win the title.
He just barely edged out Toevs at the finish line to win the first race and was behind Toevs a few laps into the next race. But Toevs was slowed down by a crash, which provided a chance for Pearce to pass him. He placed second and won the championship.
“All last year, no wrecks,” Peter Lutz said. “He did great.”
Pearce Lutz was itching for tougher competition.
After doing well as a novice road racer, he moved up to the 600 Supersport class in the OMRRA competition.
He showed potential when he won the 600 Sportsman class in April at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington. He was ecstatic, looking forward to his race on June 8 at The Ridge Motorsports Park, which is a technical road course situated on the western fringes of the Puget Sound, 30 miles northwest of Olympia.
But then he crashed again while attempting to avoid another rider who was having difficulties. Lutz was tossed through the air and landed hard.
He was conscious when medical workers got to him, and when Peter Lutz reached his son, Pearce said to him, “The first thing that went through my mind as I was flying through the air is that Brooke is going to be pissed.”
Lutz had fractures in his femur, pelvis, clavicle and ribs, injuries characteristic of a severe accident like his.
He spoke with Wolkenhuer—whom he had recently became engaged to during a hike on Black Butte—and had a phone interaction with his mother who was still in Salem, before he was whisked away on a Life Flight helicopter headed to Seattle.
However, before the helicopter arrived at Harborview Hospital, Lutz showed signs of a seizure. The helicopter was forced to touch ground in Bremerton so medics could intubate him.
Lutz’s situation was worse than the medics suspected.
The fracture in his femur produced fat emboli syndrome. An emboli from his bone marrow had made its way through Pearce’s blood vessels and had penetrated his lungs.
The doctors discovered an originally undetected congenital heart defect, and the fat emboli withheld the flow of blood to his brain, which caused brain damage. They performed several surgeries on Lutz to set the femur fracture and decrease the pressure on his brain.
But the brain damage was too drastic. Lutz did not regain consciousness after he boarded the helicopter.
Paramedics are not supposed to share about the details of those they serve, not even with their families.
Lutz followed the rules to the dot.
“Hey, I helped somebody” or “This is the best shift ever” about a night serving at Willamette Speedway was all that Pearce would tell his family.
Those that worked with Pearce told stories of how he went the extra mile during shifts for Falck, to assist EMTs working on skills necessary to become paramedics. They spoke of calls when Pearce picked up a patient and drove them to the hospital. He would not just drop them off and leave to wait for another call. He would stay and wait with them till they were given the care they required.
“We didn’t get to hear what he did and the lives he touched,” Pennie Lutz said.
His parents had to take their son off life support, which was difficult.
Lutz’s organs were donated and given to other patients, and medical staff found exact matches for his kidneys, liver, and some heart valves.
“It’s very fitting,” Pennie Lutz said. “We knew he would want that. There was really no question he would have wanted that. That’s how he was.”
The tributes that influenced his family the most were the stories told about him. Seeing his father on his motorcycle impacted everyone present that day.
As the riders began their Lap of Honor, officials passed out racing flags to the friends and well-wishers so that they could wave them at the front stretch wall while the group of riders—many who Lutz raced alongside—passed by.
Tears were shed when the spectators noticed that Pearce’s father was leading the procession.
“At the end of the straight when we went by on the official lap, Cody (Cochran) just pulls a wheelie up and takes off on a wheelie towards the corner,” said Larry Lulay, a friend of Pearce. “And Peter, on Pearce’s bike, chases him.”
See The Statesman Journal’s story here.
Do you see yourself skydiving, bungee jumping, or hiking 14,000 feet up Mount Kilimanjaro when you are 90 years old? That’s exactly what Shirley Radecki has done.
Radecki, who lives in Eugene, most recently traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico. There she participated in the 90-94 age group as a swimmer in the 2019 National Senior Games. She won a gold medal in the women’s 50-yard backstroke and a silver medal in the women’s 100-yard backstroke.
“It was pretty nice,” Radecki said, as reported by The Register-Guard. “Pretty impressive.”
Her only competition in her age group was Sara Sievert from Texas. Because of this, they took turns taking the win. Sievert won the gold in the 100-yard backstroke and silver in the 50-yard backstroke.
“We were just a few seconds apart really,” Radecki said. “She was pretty good competition.”
The event was Radecki’s second time competing, and her first time receiving a medal, save the state qualifiers in 2018.
She competed in the 100-yard breaststroke as well. However, she was disqualified because she did not touch both hands on the wall or use proper leg form.
It all started for Radecki at the 2018 Oregon Senior Games in Bend. It was there that she qualified for the national games. In the beginning, Radecki was uncertain if she wanted to compete. But her daughter, Shaundele Leatherberry, convinced her that it would be a good thing to do.
Last year, Radecki spent her time training and preparing for the competition. She trained at the River Road Park and Recreation pool with the help of her coach. She ate peanut butter and banana toast, and practiced swims and water aerobics two times every week.
Her daughter said it was important for her mother to be around more people her age that could keep up with her.
“She’s around a lot of people her age that don’t do anything,” Leatherberry said. “I wanted her to be around more active seniors and really have something to work toward.”
Even though she has tight competition in the pool, Radecki said she’s not a competitive person, she just keeps an extremely active lifestyle.
“I guess I do my best,” said Radecki, who also has two sons. “But I’m not gung-ho or anything like that.”
Leatherberry said her mother tends to downplay her abilities. Participating in the games showed her that even at 90 years old she could still be an athlete.
“There were signs that said, ‘welcome athletes,’” Leatherberry said. “I think people at that age have an image of themselves and things like this help them work toward something, and better themselves.”
Radecki acknowledged that credit goes to her daughter for getting her involved in the games. She said that most of her adventures have happened because her daughter did them first. In the last five years, Radecki went skydiving at 85 and climbed 14,000 feet up Mount Kilimanjaro at 87. To top it all off, she’s also been bungee jumping in New Zealand.
She already got the gold, but Radecki has no plans for slowing down. Her goal is to skydive again when she turns 95. Currently, she swims often and golfs twice a week.
“I mean, what else am I going to do?” Radecki said. She has been married two times, widowed once and reconnected in her late 70s with a childhood sweetheart who later passed away. “I don’t want to go out to lunches, that’s too boring. It’s just good to have things to do.”
When it comes to living a long and happy life, Radecki said she’s been lucky to have her health and a supportive family.
“You know it’s important to eat healthy, stay active and do what you do best,” Radecki said. “But having a good relationship with my family has been really special.”
Leatherberry said that while she is her mother’s biggest cheerleader, she wants people to know what a great person she is.
“She’s always lived a really healthy lifestyle and has really taken care of herself,” Leatherberry said. “She really deserves her day in the sun.”
The 2021 National Senior Games are projected to take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Radecki said she’s not sure if she’ll compete again. She plans to focus on things one day at a time at this point.
“I don’t want to make predictions, so we’ll have to see,” Radecki said. “But if my daughter is at it and wants to, then I’d do it, too.”
Read The Register-Guard’s story here.
The Central Youth Sports baseball team recently combined their efforts to provide a new bike for their teammate, fifth grader Asher Baker, after his bike was stolen.
In just two days, the baseball team members raised $230 by gathering cans around selected parts of Monmouth and Independence neighborhoods.
Asher’s bike was stolen on June 12, thirteen days after his birthday. It was taken from the Baker family’s porch.
“He was really sad,” said Asher’s mom, Conny Baker, as reported by the Polk County Itemizer-Observer. “He had been riding his bike to school in the morning and home, and so he went out to go ride his bike to school with his sister, and he’s like, where’s my bike? And we were looking around and it wasn’t anywhere.”
Conny said that her instinctive reaction was not to worry about Asher’s friends wanting to raise money for a new bike.
“But once I heard it was the brainchild of the boys, I was like, oh for sure, this is going to be amazing,” Conny said. “And I really think, not that I’m all for bikes getting stolen, but it turned into something even more beautiful than if it hadn’t happened. Because if this (fundraiser) wouldn’t have happened, the boys wouldn’t have got together; they made memories themselves. I know Asher and I, we were praying that the bike would come back or that someway there would be a silver lining that … something good would come out of this. We never found his bike. But this has happened, and it’s been really amazing. And really cool for Asher. Makes me proud for all the boys.”
Brothers Easton and Sawyer Herbert, third- and fifth-graders on the baseball team, were the fundraiser leaders, with the assistance of their mom Connie Herbert.
“When we heard about it, one of my sons, Sawyer, came home from practice, and he felt so bad,” Connie said. “And then his brother Easton said, ‘oh we should do a fundraiser for him.’ And it transpired from there.
“Some people thought we could collect money from parents to help,” Connie said, “and I was like, no, it’d be more fun for the kids to do something, so we were just like, well, cans is easy. So that’s how it transpired. We got a group of boys together, went around the neighborhood, filled the bike trailer up with cans. We did basically, five hours in one day, we collected. We returned cans the next day and that took a couple hours. The kids went around and said what happened and asked random neighbors.”
Sawyer said he felt sad when he found out his friend’s bike had been stolen.
“Because it was just a brand-new bike,” he said. “He got it for his birthday and he only had it a few days. I felt bad for him.”
Fifth-grader Jackson Barba felt the same way as Sawyer. “It’s hard when you just got a bike and then it gets taken away, because you’re so excited to do it and then you lose your opportunity.”
Cooper Larson, who’s in fourth grade, was eager to do this for Asher because he said everyone on the team is good friends with one another.
“We’ve all known each other a long time,” Cooper said.
The boys all range between third and fifth grade. They wanted their fundraising project to be a surprise for Asher.
“He’ll definitely be surprised and happy, maybe even a little emotional,” said Barba.
“He’s probably just gonna be happy. He was also getting cans too and raising money,” said fifth-grader Logan Billman.
The team purchased the bike on June 18 and gave it to Asher on June 19 after baseball practice. The boys gathered around the bike, and when Asher left the batting cages, they explained what they had done.
Asher was speechless, but he had a big smile on his face.
“I was very, very surprised,” he said. “I felt really excited, and it was so thoughtful that my teammates thought of that for me, and really, I wish I could do something back for them. That was just amazing.”
Conny was in on the secret.
“I’ve known from the beginning, but I’ve been staying out of the loop, so that I just didn’t know anything, so nothing would slip out,” she said.
The other teammates involved with the fundraiser included Josiah Vela, fifth-grade, Josh Fitts, fifth grade, Tyler Olafsen, fourth grade and Emil Leos, fifth grade.
There was $135 left after the purchase of the bike, so the team decided to use it to buy helmets. They also planned to donate to the Independence Police Department for the kids who don’t have helmets.
Read the full story here.