Ailing Iceboaters

We’ve received word that Fred Kircheis had a stroke in his sleep early Thursday morning. No news on his situation, but our thoughts are with Fred and his family, and wishes for s full recovery. Iceboating buddy Bruce Brown is helping with the details. Ironically, Rick Williams was scheduled to pick up Fred’s DN that very morning having bought it a few days earlier. Not sure if the two events are related…

Down at the Connecticut Ice Yacht Club, Joe Kolodej was seriously injured at work and a fundraiser has been organized by George Neysson. Lots of us build things and use tools, so its always useful to try and understand how these accidents happen. All the best from Maine, Joe!—CIYC Dave Danielson fills in the details:

I spoke with Joe for about 15 minutes the day after he got back home. Joe was at Cedar Island Marina in Clinton, CT. working on a Silverton 42. The boat was out of the water. He went below decks to do some welding believing the boat had been vented. When he began there was an explosion. He told me he wasn’t sure whether it was fuel or propane that caused it. He was able to get back on deck but the ladder had fallen away from the boat. Someone heard the explosion and came to help him. His right arm was badly damaged. He told me his hand was just hanging, his thumb wasn’t in the right place (his words) and blood was pulsing out of the arm. He was immediately wrapped up with boat yard shrink wrap to contain the flow and rushed to Yale/New Haven.

He told me the emergency room was full of doctors and nurses to stabilize him. There were 2 more surgeries: the first to determine the extent of damage and another to do skin grafts. He has pins in every finger on his right hand and has a pump hooked up to take care of drainage, I assume. He has a nursing service coming to the house as well and is on 2 kinds of pain killers and still not very comfortable.

I haven’t talked to him again yet; thought I’d let him settle in a bit. I don’t think he’s very comfortable recounting the incident. I know I wouldn’t be either. It sounds like he’s worried whether he will be able to use the hand and arm. He also sounds like he’s not sure what will happen from a legal standpoint, if anything; it’s still being investigated by the local police dept.

He’s guessing it will be at least a 6 months recovery period; probably what the doctors told him. That’s all I have at the moment. I’m really grateful to George for setting up the fundraiser. Joe might have rejected such a thing but I’m sure he’s going to need some backup funds down the road. I’m hoping that we can raise a large sum to take that worry out of the equation. And, at the same time, let him know his friends are with him on the way to a full recovery, if possible.

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2 Responses to Ailing Iceboaters

  1. Brown Bruce says:

    Fred still in ICU but has markedly improved, regaining his original speech and strength.

  2. Fred Kircheis says:

    Dear Bill,

    Thanks for sending this out. I am home now with very few limitations and expect further improvements as time goes by. I hope to see you at Plymouth Pond as a spectator.



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