On July 4, Randy Cavanaugh was shingling a roof in Salmon River. It was the type of job that the local carpenter had done many times before. Unfortunately, Cavanaugh, 46, was seriously injured when he fell 20 feet and landed on concrete.
"A person's normal instinct is to land on his feet," Cavanaugh said. "This is what I did and after landing on my feet I tried to roll. That's when I went over on my left shoulder. Besides damaging the shoulder considerably, I broke my arm in several places."
Cavanaugh's head struck the concrete causing a cut that required more than 35 stitches. He also shattered bones in both feet while tearing the ligaments in his right knee.
"I was dazed and semi-conscience after hitting the ground," Cavanaugh said. "A friend, Barry Nichols, was with me when I fell. He helped get me into my truck. Barry drove me immediately to Colchester (Regional) Hospital. No one could believe that I walked from the truck into the hospital."
The Salmon River resident continues to fight back approximately two months after the mishap.
"Things are just now beginning to come along," Cavanaugh said. "I feel I'm making some progress. Here at home, it's a challenge using a crutch and trying to walk a bit. I try to do a few small exercises so that I can make a bit of a gain with my recuperation."
Cavanaugh goes to the local hospital twice weekly for therapy and believes he may not have lived through the fall had he not been in such good physical condition.
"Now, what I want badly is to get back to good health," he said. "It is really tough being in bed and spending considerable time in a wheelchair."
Cavanaugh shared that he is already thinking about a career change that will allow him to remain on the ground. An industrial accident five years ago is still engraved in his memory. He also miraculously survived a fall on that occasion that laid him up for several months.
And his healing is not only important to him, but to the sports community thanks to his role as a popular goaltender in local old-timer hockey.
"There are different businessmen and people out there who want to do something to help Randy," Dave Clarke, owner of D.G. Clarke Construction, said. "We were teammates with Truro Legends last February in that game against the Montreal Canadiens Alumni. I feel that once we get everyone back and hockey is in full swing this fall, there are lots of people interested in doing something to help Randy. I like the idea of a benefit hockey game for Randy."
Clarke said that he can see Cavanaugh doing better health-wise every week.
"For what that man has just gone through, he's really bouncing back," Clarke said. "Randy is definitely recovering much better than many of us expected."
Jim Peters, of Bible Hill, said that he and Cavanaugh have been friends since their junior high school days.
"Randy has a great attitude and great spirit," Peters said. "Even after going through this accident he's determined to get back on the ice and play hockey. Randy has many friends who are pulling for him."
Vicki Baines, Cavanaugh's girlfriend, appreciates that people are considering a fundraiser for the well-liked Cavanaugh.
"Randy has been quite involved in the sports community," Baines said. "I think it's nice that his friends are thinking of organizing something for him. Randy and I appreciate the thought, it means a lot."
Baines added that Steve Walton, who arranges exhibition hockey games for NHL alumni teams, has been in touch with her and Cavanaugh.
"Steve has given us two tickets to a home Boston Bruins hockey game this season," Baines said. "These two tickets can be designated for any Boston home game and we are welcome to use them as part of a fundraiser."