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Lost Leg a ‘Blessing in Disguise’

Jan 6, 2005

A pastor with Grace Brethren roots was featured in columnist Steve Pollick’s article in today’s Toledo (OH) Blade newspaper. A portion of the article is reproduced here–to read the entire piece click here.

John Fahrbach shot this 8-pointer on opening day of black powder season. He’s back afield after doctors replaced his leg.

Hunters who use muzzleloading rifles bagged a record of at least 27,749 deer during the recent “black powder” season, and among them are a buck and doe to which special memories are attached.

John Fahrbach of Northwood took a fine eight-pointer on opening day of the four-day season, hunting alone from a ground blind on private land between Genoa and Woodville.

“I got a dandy,” he said of the hefty buck, which weighed an estimated 200 pounds on the hoof. “It’s not a Boone and Crockett, but it’s a very respectable deer.”

But the real story is the rest of his story.

Fahrbach, former pastor of Trinity Grace Brethren Church in Northwood and now pastor at Grace Brethren Chapel in Fremont, also worked as an estimator for a roofing company.

In September, 2003, he fell off a ladder and shattered his left ankle and lower leg. Two months in the hospital, four steel plates, and 40 screws later he was hobbling on crutches with a bleak outlook for mobility.

Then a severe infection set in last May and after consultations with four doctors and a lot of soul-searching, the parson agreed to an amputation.

“It really was a blessing in disguise,” said Fahrbach. “I would have had to endure a poor quality of life the rest of my days. It sounds awful, but it really is better. The infection really helped me think it through. I really had some good doctors.”

Fahrbach said that on a missionary trip to Africa three years ago he was struck by the medical misery he witnessed. His treatment here, he asserted, is a stark reminder of how good Americans have it. “We live in the greatest country in the world.”

“If it’s possible would you mention my appreciation to the team that made my recovery possible? Dr. Gregory Georgiadias at MCO; Red Walendzak, Tamara White, and Joan Berlincourt of East Point Physical Therapy, and Tom Sandy of Hanger Prosthetics.

“Without a solid team of professionals such as these dedicated men and women, the joy of returning to the field would just be a field of dreams.”