Nels Hadden and his family are getting ready to move. The man dubbed Eastern Oregon's 'good Samaritan' will be headed to Denver's Craig Hospital, a rehabilitation center for spinal cord injury patients, on Monday.
Hadden has been at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland since he was hit by a car on Interstate 84 on Jan. 26. He had stopped to help a wrecked driver near Rufus when another car lost control and hit the 46-year-old Milton-Freewater man.
Since his accident friends have said his wife, Betsy, has spent nearly every day with Hadden in the hospital in Portland.
"It's just been remarkable to watch their devotion to each other," said family friend Glen Dickason. "In some marriages this could break it apart, and they're stronger than they every were."
His children, Chelsie and William, have continued school at McLoughlin High and commuted to Portland every weekend to be with their dad.
On Monday, a medical crew from Craig Hospital will transport Hadden and Betsy from Legacy Emanuel to Denver by air ambulance, said Dickason and Sandy Howland, another family friend.
Betsy will stay in Denver with Hadden. William will stay as well, likely to attend school somewhere in Englewood, a suburb of Denver, said Dickason. Chelsie will stay with family friends in Milton-Freewater to finish her senior year at McLoughlin.
Howland said the family has been busy packing things up and getting ready for the move and arranging things for Chelsie. She said Craig Hospital will likely have housing for Betsy and William.
They expect to be in Denver for about six months, depending on how things progress, Howland said.
Howland was in Portland with the family this week, where she said a representative from Craig Hospital met with them in preparation for the trip.
"He assured Nels he could fish and even hunt in his current condition," Howland said. "He's excited to do all that even with his limitations."
For now, Dickason said Hadden is progressing one goal at a time.
He is paralyzed from about the chest down, due to blunt force trauma in the C-4 vertebrae, Howland said. He has control of his head and shoulders, Dickason said.
This week he was able to get out of his hospital bed for the first time. Dickason said he got into a wheelchair built something like an overstuffed chair with wheels and was able to move around the hospital.
"It's great for him to get out of bed and be able to wheel around a little bit," Howland said.
Both Howland and Dickason said Hadden is looking forward to the change of scenery from Portland to Denver.
"He's ready to get to rehab," Howland said, "to get out of the hospital and work on getting on with his life."
"He's looking forward to the chance to get better," Dickason said. "He said, 'I want to be able to take care of myself.'"