Gary Mossburg Jr., a dedicated 34-year-old deer hunter, left his Montpelier home early March 30 to check on the condition of a treestand he planned to use during this fall's hunting seasons.
By late that night he was in serious condition in Medical College Hospital in Toledo, his spinal cord severed, paralyzed from the waist down, the victim of a 25-foot fall from a treestand that had been vandalized. He also was suffering from hypothermia, having spent 15 hours on the cold forest floor, unable to move but hollering for help.
Saturday his co-workers at Paramount Health Care, Inc., where he is a quality resources coordinator, and his family are sponsoring a benefit day to help Mossburg and his wife Anna defray mounting medical expenses.
The event is set for the Sylvania Moose Family Center, 6072 North Main St., Sylvania, noon to 11 p.m. The day includes a spaghetti dinner and salad bar, a dance, raffles and related activities.
A special account, the Gary Mossburg Jr. Fund, also has been established at Sky Bank to accept contributions.
Medically, though confined to a wheelchair, Mossburg is OK, said Anna Mossburg, his wife of eight months. He may return to work by month's end. A medical assistant, she has been off work since her husband's injury because he has needed around-the-clock assistance.
Anna said she has no idea how deep their bills will run, beyond insurance coverage. But she said his disability means they will need to build a wheelchair ramp for their home, buy a vehicle that is equipped for the disabled, and pay for physical therapy and continuing care.
Mossburg had found that the treestand, in rural Williams County, had been tampered with some time ago, and he had placed a lock on it, Anna said. On the day of the fall, when he removed the lock, the whole stand collapsed. He fell with the stand and was unable to move, spending those 15 hours in the cold, hollering for help, 300 yards from a rural road.
Mossburg had told no one of his exact destination, though Anna guessed where he might have gone. Eventually he was located through information from a nearby resident and a search by a county K-9 unit. Anna said there is no way to identify who vandalized the deerstand.
For all that, she added, Gary longs to return to his beloved hunting. “He wants to.”
The Ohio Ducks Unlimited 2003 state convention is set for downtown Toledo Friday through next Sunday, at the Wyndham Hotel.
In conjunction with the gathering of this prominent wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization, the Ohio Division of Wildlife will hold its annual wetlands habitat stamp, or duck stamp, competition.
“This a celebration for the hard work of the volunteers in the past year,” said Steve Dey of Waterville, just beginning a term as state DU chairman. “It has been several years since we've been to Toledo and we wanted to bring them downtown to show them what we have.”
Ducks Unlimited has spent more than $11.6 million on 314 projects in Ohio alone, targeting such waterfowl species as mallard, black duck, wood duck, canvasback, redhead and blue-winged teal.
The convention opens Friday morning with the Ohio DU Fun Shoot, set for Ringneck Ridge Hunt Club in Gibsonburg, a Ladies Day Out gathering, and a program for Greenwings, DU members under age 17. Friday evening will be Ohio DU night at the Mud Hens baseball game at Fifth Third Field.
Saturday programs include information sessions in the morning with the staffs of the Ohio Division of Wildlife and DU Great Lakes Atlantic Regional Office, and “break-out” sessions in the afternoon.
The duck stamp judging is set for Saturday morning, with viewing of entries in the afternoon.
The dinner is Saturday night, with a small live auction, silent auctions and raffles. Beth Fritz, convention co-chairman, said that Grand Slam raffle tickets can be purchased all day at the hotel for the drawings at dinner.
For other details, call Fritz at 419-287-4418, or Sid Lark at 419-661-1755.
On guard: A total of 155 fishing parties returning to Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, New York and Florida were checked Saturday by Canadian authorities, who set up a fish and game check-station at the Blue Water Bridge at Sarnia, Ont., across from Port Huron, Mich.
Twenty five charges were filed, and 31 coolers, a household freezer and more than 2,100 pounds of fish were seized in a joint enforcement blitz by officers of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Some $6,250 in fines were levied for transporting unlawfully possessed fish, the OMNR said.
Another 21 charges were filed in a similar operation at the bridge May 24.