Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

March 27, 2014

Benefit to be held in Newton Saturday after electrocution accident

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

NEWTON — Less than a year after marrying his wife, Heather, in August 2013, Stephen Bueschsenschuetz of Terre Haute said he still thinks about how it all could have gone wrong.

"We've had to go through a lot, other than almost making her a widow in the first year of being married," he said.

On Nov. 20, Bueschsenschuetz was in an accident on the job, working as a carpenter in construction. He and doctors still aren't sure what exactly happened, but in a matter of seconds, a neutral line broke, sending about 14,000 volts of electricity through his right shoulder that burned through his right and left arms and blew a hole in his right foot.

Four surgeries, three weeks in the burn unit at Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis and countless doctors visits later, Bueschsenschuetz is getting better. He said he's starting to get some motor control in his right hand back although he lacks strength and is having to relearn to write with his nondominant left hand. To offset the costs of the surgery and the loss of work, a benefit is being held from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Grace United Methodist Church in Newton, the same church Stephen and Heather were married.

Bueschsenschuetz said the fundraiser and his recovery from the accident have helped him to see the strength and love within his own family and the community that surrounds them.

"A lot of people have been really great in helping out," he said. "My dad is from Decatur and he would drive me over to take me to the doctor appointments to Indianapolis, and my church, St. Paul's Lutheran in Decatur, have been really good about helping out."

Even with the assistance, Bueschsenschuetz said he still faces a long road to recovery. The burns through his right hand are severe and he said the nerve damage through the area may take two years to heal if it ever heals. He's looking on finding a potential new career if he's not able to get back the dexterity and strength needed for woodworking.

"I'm trying to learn to do other jobs," he said. "It's kind of all up in the air."

Bueschsenschuetz said he feels the compassion of the community as he grows to adapt and move through the new life he has found himself in.

"After an incident like this, you realize how blessed you are with all the families and friends you have," he said.

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or at jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com or via Twitter @EDNJAdams.