On the Road to Recovery
One day changed the life of Anthony Putratz, but he’s moving forward with the help of family and friends.
The Brownsdale man was severely burned from an explosion at McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing on Jan. 11 in Dodge Center.
A benefit and silent auction were held this past weekend at the Mantorville Saloon.
“It’s a bit overwhelming, because there are so many people here, even some that I don’t know,” Putratz said.
Nathan Putratz, Anthony’s brother, said the money raised will go towards daily expenses while Anthony is unable to work.
He said Anthony was working as a painter when he and a co-worker heard a commotion. They went to investigate a paint booth and within a matter of seconds there was an explosion.
Putratz went and told someone what happened, Nathan Putratz said. He was then taken to the Burn Center at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Judy Evers, Anthony’s mother, said someone from the McNeilus Human Resources department told the family about his burns shortly after the explosion.
“I couldn’t believe it. Your heart sinks,” Nathan Putratz said. “The hour drive felt like three hours.”
Evers said it was difficult not knowing if her son would be alive when she got there, or what shape he would be in.
“I was very relieved when I did get to his room, because he was coherent,” she said.
She said he was in a medically-induced coma for three weeks. “It was long three weeks, because his temperature went up and down. He was very unstable,” Evers said.
Even after he came out of the coma, she said he stayed at the Burn Center for another 10 days, bringing his total time there to 35 days. Anthony has undergone three surgeries, but Evers said he still needs an injection surgery on his neck once a month for the next three months.
The surgeries have limited his mobility, and activities Putratz can enjoy.
“He can’t do anything outside, so that bums him out, and he can’t really hang out with his friends, so putting this on was a really good thing for him,” Nathan Putratz said.
Anthony can’t do much outside because he is at high risk for skin cancer, Evers said. Plus, the skin grafts can’t produce sweat, so his other sweat glands overproduce. “He tries to stay positive and take it one day at a time,” she said. “He has his good days and his bad days.”
Evers said Anthony’s good days are usually when he can spend time with his family, friends, and his dog, Tank.
She said they had raised almost $1,000 through T-shirt sales, and she hoped to double that through their silent auction.
About half of the auction items were donated by Anthony’s former employer, McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing.
It’s undetermined when Anthony will feel ready to work again, but Nathan Putratz said he wants to work again, and enjoys painting and working with his hands. Evers thanked everyone who came to Anthony’s benefit.
“It’s been an unbelievable response. Everybody has been so loving and supportive,” she said. “We can’t thank them enough.”