Community Supports Recovering Councilwoman

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GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- A Cleveland area woman seriously hurt in an accident in Arkansas finds there really is no place like home.

Garfield Heights Councilwoman Tracy Mahoney said she is humbled by the kindness of others who have come to her aid.

The dining area of Mahoney's home looks more like a hospital room.  It is where she is recovering from a terrible fall that happened while on vacation in a remote area of Arkansas last month.

She was taking down wind chimes from a deck when she fell.

“And the railing that I had been walking on, I lost my balance and I fell.  I fell about 12 feet onto a pile of rocks,” Mahoney said.

Her husband, Rich, didn’t know what to think when he saw what happened to her.

“She was just laying there, so I didn't even know if she was alive or not, because she was literally just laying there,” he said.

Mahoney suffered extensive injuries.  She has a number of broken bones, including her wrist, ribs, back and pelvis, and she lacerated her liver.

Doctors told her she was lucky to be alive.

“And that I was lucky that I wasn't paralyzed and that I was lucky that my cognitive thinking seemed okay,” she added.

Mahoney spent three weeks in an Arkansas hospital, but is able to recover at home instead of at a nursing home or rehabilitation facility.

Fellow Councilman Tom Vaughn happened to get a hospital bed for her from one of his constituents.

"I received a phone call Donna Ruszkiewicz, my next door neighbor, telling me that they had a hospital bed and did I know anybody who could use it.   So, it was all an act of God that got this thing here,” Councilman Vaughn said.

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser is planned to help with expenses, since Mahoney's husband will not be able to work so he can take care of her.

“You know when the medical bills start rolling in and everything else, it adds up very quickly.  And it's the right thing to do to help her out,” Mahoney's friend, Heather DiPenti, said.

Mahoney said she is overwhelmed and humbled by the kindness she has received,  some from people she doesn't even know, and the fall she took just reinforces what she already knew.

"Garfield Heights is a very loving caring community that rallies around each other and this is home,” she said.

The spaghetti dinner benefit for Councilwoman Tracy Mahoney is planned for Wednesday, April 24 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 10706 Granger Road.

There is $25 per person donation.

For tickets, contact Councilman Tom Vaughn at 216-663-8837.

Tickets are also available at the Garfield Heights City Hall, police station or fire department.

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