Knoxville — An accident that occurred thousands of miles away has impacted the lives of a rural Bussey family and inspired a pair of Knoxville Middle School Talented And Gifted (TAG) students to reach out to an alumnus they have never met.
Loren Lettington was repairing a piece of Vermeer equipment in Germany on Nov. 26, 2012, when the piece of equipment - estimated to weigh nearly 1,000 pounds - fell on him. He suffered a broken neck, which left him paralyzed. Three weeks passed before he could even be transferred back to the United States for further treatment.
When he returned to America, he landed at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He, along with wife, Megan, and children, Briar (21 months) and Hadley (nearly five months) have been in Chicago ever since.
Loren is a 2005 graduate of Eddyville/Blakesburg/Fremont alumnus. Megan is the daughter of Hap and Mary Miller of Knoxville, and a 2006 Knoxville High School alumnus. Mary is also a secretary at KMS.
When Loren had his accident, it was a topic of conversation at KMS. Eighth grade student Jinni Dingel heard some of these discussions. As time went by and her TAG service project came up, she remembered the struggle the Lettingtons are facing and wanted to do something to help them.
Dingel, with Hannah Hatch, organized a 7-8 grade dance to be held next Friday, March 15, with the theme of neon. The dance is open only to students in those grades and will be held in the KMS gym. A local disc jockey is donating her time. Free will donations will be collected and the price of admission to the dance will be $3 per student.
The service project is an established part of the eighth grade TAG program. Dingel and Hatch say they are getting a good feeling by doing what they can to help a family in need. Megan and Loren are impressed by the duo's caring work.