LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) -- A Nebraska vice principal is fighting hard to get back to the job he loves. He is making progress after an accident at a lake nearly took his life.
"Therapy is tough but I feel it's the only way I'll make progress," said Chad Fuller.
It's been nearly a month since an accident at a lake in St. Paul, Nebraska left Chad Fuller in a wheelchair.
"The last thing I remember is getting ready to go down the slide and hitting the water," Chad said. "Then, waking up in Grand Island. That's it."
They still don't know exactly what cause the injury.
Chad's brother Rusty saw it happen.
"We were just swimming with all the kids and the adults and put the Slip N' Slide out. It was one of those things where you are just having a lot of fun and it turns pretty fast," said Rusty Fuller.
Chad credits Rusty, his sister, and his son, Mack, for saving his life.
"I was very lucky that my dad pushed me to be a lifeguard as soon as I turned 14," said Mack. "I was a lifeguard for five years and those five years of not liking being a lifeguard were worth it in those five minutes."
Mack never imagined he would have to use his lifeguard CPR training on his own dad.
"I thank God every day that we were able to save him and he's still here and he's still dad," Mack said.
This past month, Chad has been living at Madonna Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln.
"I have movement in my shoulders. Right now, I'm paralyzed from there down which is frustrating," he said.
He fights every day to walk, talk, and get off his breathing tube.
"They usually say it takes a while to get to that point where you're able to talk but it didn't take him long because he was, he's got that determination," said Chad's wife, Tami.
Right now, Chad is using Dragon Machine Software to learn how to operate his email and the internet hands free.
"This is one aspect of his job that he'll be able to be completely independent," said Molly Thomas, Madonna Rehabilitation Center.
Chad is a vice principal in David City, Nebraska. He's spent his entire career coaching and teaching across Nebraska. His passion for kids--easy to see as he cheers them on.
"Today is our first day of teachers-and not being there has been very hard," he said.
His dedication has not gone unnoticed.
When teachers and residents in David City heard of Chad's accident, they went to his house and spread mulch and finished painting his house for him.
"You feel like you've maybe done something right when you see that kind of support," said Chad.
Proof that no matter how long and how tough Chad's fight is ahead, he will not go through it alone.
"Just continue to pray. That's what's really important because I think prayer is making a difference," said his wife, Tami.
Chad's ultimate goal is to return to work. His family is trying to raise money to purchase a van that will be wheelchair accessible.
Here are details on how you can help:
Coed Softball Tournament Syracuse-Aug 18 and 19 (lots of raffle items and auction, 100% of proceeds go to Chad)
Ace Hardware David City-Round Up
Chad Fuller Benefits:
Countryside Bank Syracuse
PO box 532
Syracuse, NE 68446
Chad Fuller Benefits:
Any US Bank nationwide
Chad Fuller Van Fund:
Plattsmouth State Bank
Attn: David Schneider