Ed D”Arcy Accident

About April 1, 1952, the Almont Village Council hired Ed to be the full-time Village Marshall.  He replaced Lew Ward who had held the position for over twenty years on a part-time basis.

On August 24, 1953, while helping the DPW workers, Ed was severely injured.  The DPW workers were unloading a load of gravel when the accident occurred.  The bed of the loaded dump truck had been raised just enough to get the gravel to starting sliding out of the bed.  Ed had moved behind the cab of the truck and was under the truck’s bed when the truck’s hydraulics did not hold.  Fenner Harris, who was standing nearby, recognized the bed was starting to give way and yelled at Ed.  Ed was able to get his head out of the way of the falling bed but his right arm and left hand were caught between the truck’s frame and the bed of the truck.

One of the DPW workers quick raised the truck bed so Ed could be removed.  Mrs. Wilbert Glassford, who was passing by as the accident occurred, stopped to lend assistance.  She used a belt as a tourniquet to appreciably stop the flow of blood from several veins and arteries.

Dr. Swayze and a nurse were quickly at the scene and began treating Ed.  The Muir Brothers ambulance arrived and Ed was transported to the Art Centre Hospital in Detroit where Dr. Swayze was on staff.

At the hospital, his right arm was operated on.  The bone pieces were set and a silver plate inserted to support the bone.  The doctors also worked to repair the circulation in Ed’s arm.  Hospital officials reported that it would be 72 hours before they would know if the arm could be saved.

The following week, in the September 3rd issue of the Almont Times-Herald, the report was that the bones seemed to be healing but blood circulation within the arm was a concern.  Ed was able to get out of bed and move around.

During that week a fund had been started at the Almont Savings Bank to help with expenses.  People could go to the bank and ask to deposit funds into the account.  The American Legion was setting up to host a benefit dance at the Town Hall on September 18th.  Fred Gillam was hired to furnish the music – both modern and old.  The cost was $1 or more.

Several men, who were not named in the newspaper story, installed a septic tank and field at Ed’s home so the family would have indoor plumbing.  Over the next couple of weeks, the Almont Firemen did considerable work around Ed’s home and were making progress on the bathroom.

On Tuesday, September 15, Ed’s arm was amputated one inch above the elbow.  Infection had set in and there was no saving the arm.

The first week in October, doctors had to operate on Ed’s arm for a second time.  That week the construction of the bathroom was completed and a new furnace had been installed.  The Ed D’Arcy fund had reached over $1,200

The next week, Ed came home from the hospital.

Unfortunately, in late January of 1954, Ed would require further surgery on the arm.  The surgery was performed at University Hospital in Ann Arbor.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  The Almont community response to Ed’s needs was typical of Almont – taking care of their own.  The over $1,300 raised for the Ed D’Arcy Fund does not seem like much by today’s standards but when most people’s yearly incomes were about $4,000, it was a substantial sum.  Additionally, most of the materials (septic system, the bathroom fixtures, and the furnace) used for the work on Ed’s home were donated or purchased at below cost prices.  Friends and neighbors took turns driving Dorothy to the hospital in Detroit or watching Arlene and Sharlene while Dorothy was at the hospital.  A year later, the Almont community did the same thing after Larry Clouse contracted Polio.            

Being right-handed, Ed would have to learn to write with his left hand.  He had to learn how to do everyday tasks with his non-dominate hand.  He had to learn how to drive his car and how to ride his horse with one hand.

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