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Alta. farmer wins courage award

Alta. farmer wins courage award

An electrical accident left David Abt with life-altering injuries

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A farmer’s perseverance and resilience earned him an award from the people who witnessed his recovery firsthand.

David Abt, a farmer from Ponoka, Alta. received a Glenrose Courage Award from staff at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton.

Hospital staff started giving these awards in 2006 to honour patients who inspire others and display a positive attitude.

Abt received his following his recovery from a life-changing injury.

In the summer of 2020, Abt was helping install a gate when the tractor next to him touched an overhead power line.

“I was the easiest route to ground, so (the power) came all through me,” he told Global News on Oct. 12.

STARS airlifted him to hospital, and it was unclear at the time whether he’d survive.

The electrical burns caused the 64-year-old to undergo multiple procedures.

Nine surgeries later, Abt lost his right leg, left arm, and fingers on his right hand.

The road to recovery, including learning how to use a prosthetic leg, wasn’t easy.

But Abt brought a farmer’s mentality to any challenges he faced.

“He’s got a get (it) done attitude,” Dan Yeung, an occupational therapist, told Global News. “He would never back down and never quit.”

Abt’s family are inspired by his recovery.

“He was in a farming accident and severely injured, since (then) he has moved mountains! He is unstoppable and his progress is amazing!” Lacey Abt, David’s niece, wrote in a Facebook post.

The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital honoured two others with courage awards.

Vivienne Bartee from Edmonton received an award for inspiring mental health patients after she lost her daughter, son and mother in less than a year, and received an eye cancer diagnosis.

And Isabelle Berube, a teenager from St. Albert, got her honour after recovering from a brain tumour. After surgery, she was diagnosed with posterior fossa syndrome, which affects speech and other motor skills. has contacted Abt’s family for comment on his award and recovery.

Global News screenshot

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