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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Motorcycle accident doesn’t slow down Carpenters

  • Even a motorcycle accident that occurred about a month and a half ago could not keep Tommy and Linda Carpenter of Shawnee from volunteering at the International Finals Youth Rodeo.


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  • Even a motorcycle accident that occurred about a month and a half ago could not keep Tommy and Linda Carpenter of Shawnee from volunteering at the International Finals Youth Rodeo.
    On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the Carpenters took a tour of Fall’s Creek church camp on their motorcycle. About four miles from the Fall’s Creek gate, right after passing through the town of Dougherty, they hit some gravel on the road and wrecked.
    At    Mercy Memorial Health Center in Ardmore, Linda was treated for injuries to her right wrist and hand and released before having surgery Thursday morning, in which a pin was placed in her hand. Tommy was held at the hospital for five days after having surgery, and he said his “foot was turned around backwards.” Now, he has a 12-inch steel plate and 22 screws in his ankle and lower right leg, where he suffered eight fractures in his fibula.
    “It is crazy because you wouldn’t think a 25-mph accident would cause both of us to have orthopedic surgeries. It is pretty traumatic,” Tommy said.
    The Carpenters are chairing the Message Center at the IFYR this year because the daughter of the usual chair, Anna Looper, is getting married this weekend. At the Message Center, volunteers help with contestant registration, answer questions and make announcements on the public address system, among other tasks.
    Tommy said it is special that he and his wife are still able to be involved with the IFYR this year and that they love working with the kids. They also are excited to have a larger role this year.
    “We love it. Ever since we started working out here, we wanted to be more involved, to be able to make a difference and do as much as we can to help,” Tommy said.
    He thinks they have volunteered at the IFYR Message Center for about six years, but he is not for sure, Tommy said.
    “We would have to go home and count our T- shirts,” Linda said, laughing, referring to the different colored shirts the volunteers receive each year.
    Linda the first phone call, other than family members, was to Looper to let her know they might not be able to help out with the rodeo.
    “I was very disappointed. I said [to Anna], ‘We will come and do what we can.’ It was devastating to think we might not be able to help,” Tommy said.
    Both Tommy and Linda retired this year, with Linda’s retirement coming two days before the accident, and Linda said that gives them more time to invest to the IFYR.
    With the help of a motorized scooter borrowed from his parents, Tommy said he will be able to help out, interact and spend time with the kids competing in the rodeo.
    Page 2 of 2 - Linda said the people of Shawnee have been great as far as calling to ask what help the couple needs. She said some neighbors mowed their lawn and others baked brownies.
    “You have to have an accident sometimes to experience the good in people,” Linda said.
    Tommy said it is not often that both a husband and wife are injured at the same time, and the couple depended on outside help for about three weeks.
    “You never appreciate good friends or good family until you need them, and then they all show up to help,” Tommy said.
    Due to their injuries, Tommy said there has been a sort of role reversal around the house, with him doing some of the cooking and Linda taking out the trash and watering the dogs.
    “He’s the hands and I’m the legs,” Linda said.
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