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Winning Life's Lottery

30 December, 2013
Media account of incident

I have been active all my life, running, weightlifting, and being an outdoors-man have all been a part of my daily routine. Back in the mid 90's, at the age of about 40, I hurt my back by doing heavy lifts at the gym. I was in a rush to go on a snowmobiling trip and wanted to get my workout done. Unfortunately, doing heavy lifts, not taking the time to put a weight lifting belt on and not holding proper form, spelled disaster. From there on, I suffered for many years and sought treatment from doctors, chiropractors, and sports therapists. Although they helped me, and I was able to continue working out and life in general, I never recovered from the injury. Thankfully, during those years, the physical part of my life was not that demanding, since I was a Professional Civil Engineer and Registered Land Surveyor, and managed my own company.

In 2003, I had the opportunity to sell the Company and in 2004, purchased an existing Hunting, Fishing and Sporting business at an area in Northern Maine, where I had vacationed for many years and guided on a part time basis. Additionally, during those years, I had acquired my Master Maine Guides license, so this venture seemed ideal.

During the summer of 2013, I severely re-injured my back, laying concrete block for a drainage structure at camp. Essentially, I was crippled, climbing into a pick up truck was nearly impossible, my guiding duties were extremely painful, and the physical requirements of running a sporting camp became very difficult. The pain in my back and shooting down my left leg was unbearable at times. I could not stand, sit, or even lay down without severe discomfort. I tried a chiropractor again, and only got marginal relief. At this point, I was desperate. As a regular listener of the John Moore show and hearing the many testimonials from individuals about how well the Energy Cleaner worked for them, I decided to give it a try and at the beginning of September 2013, I purchased an Energy Cleaner.

My wife, who was anxious to help me, attached the Energy Cleaner to our bed at camp utilizing the screening as recommended, and after only one week of use, the pain was almost gone. I could not believe it. After two weeks, I had no pain at all, my back was strong, and I felt like I did at 25!  Physical work became a non-issue and leaping into a pickup to take people on a guided fishing trip became enjoyable again. I was back in the gym doing my full routine and running 10-12 miles a week. The years of suffering had come to an end! At the time, I had no idea, just how important my healthy and strong back would mean to me in the very near future.

Then October 1st came and my life changed. We had just closed camp for the season and we were doing our normal close up for the winter. At the last minute, I decided to dig a drainage ditch along a portion of the 1.5 mile of gravel road we maintain leading into camp before heading home the next day to Massachusetts. While doing this, a past employee who had worked for me for about 5 years showed up in his mothers car and sat about 250 feet up the road and began watching me. This man had become physically ill during the previous year and was unable to perform his job, so he had given his notice in the fall of 2012. After that, I was aware he had become depressed and was seeking physical and psychiatric help. I saw him occasionally during the summer and thought he was managing his condition as best as he could. I did wonder why he was watching me, but thought he was just remembering the "good times" when he worked for us.

He proceeded to drive past me, while I was off the backhoe using a hand shovel to clean the ditch and he said, "nice job" to me. He then stopped about 300 feet down the road and turned around, stopping there and observing me again. As I threw the shovel into the bucket of the backhoe, he drove past me again, towards camp, and stopped about 100 feet in front of me. I said to myself, "what the hell is he doing there....I guess he's just waiting for me to go around him and he will follow me back to camp and have coffee as we had done many times at the end of the day."

I got on the open cab machine that has a roof only and drove up to where he was parked and stopped almost directly opposite him about 10-12 feet away, and pointed to my watch and said, "it's's quitting time". I looked down, reached for the throttle with my right hand, and heard a very loud blast and felt excruciating pain in my right hand as if it was being hit with a sledgehammer. At that instant, I did not know what was going on, as the first shot rang out from his 45 semi automatic pistol hitting my right hand, as it passed in front of my body, almost taking my right index finger off. This actually saved my life, since this round would have hit me in the center of the chest if the bullet had not ricocheted off my hand. Then, I must have flinched and turned slightly to the left when the second shot was fired as it hit me in the right pectoral muscle, tearing through and across my chest, and burying into my left shoulder. I knew then, "it was time to get out of Dodge" as he was trying to kill me. I leaped off the backhoe, to the left, and was hit by the third shot. This one entered my lower right back and came out my upper right chest. This all took place in a matter of a few seconds and I could not believe what was happening to me.

When I hit the ground, I was pouring blood from my chest and knew direct pressure was my only chance. I grabbed my right pectoral muscle as hard as I could with my bad right hand. as I could not use my left as it was immobile. I thought my left shoulder was shattered, but found out later it was because of the lodged bullet. While all of this was happening, I was quickly accessing what other injuries I might have. I even coughed and spit to see if my lungs were damaged and saw a small amount of blood in my saliva. Then, the fourth shot rang out, followed by silence.

I was able, with great difficulty, to stand up gradually, and look over the rear tire of the backhoe. He was still sitting on the driver's side and smoke was coming from the top of his head. I knew then he had killed himself and I needed to get help quick.

Unfortunately, from past experience, cell phone service was very limited in this area of the gravel road, and I had no choice but to get back on the tractor and drive about a mile to the top of the hill. Walking this distance, I knew, was impossible in my condition. Steering with my left elbow, working the throttle with my left hand, and continuing direct pressure on my chest wounds with my shot up right hand, the tractor began to move. At this point in time, I did not know if I was going to make it, so I attempted to call my wife with the speed dial feature, who had already gone back to Massachusetts. I knew that if at least the call recorded on her phone, and the worse happened, she would have known I was thinking of her. The call rang a few times and dropped as expected.

The trip up to the top of the hill seemed to take days. I have often heard that during times like this, people think of a thousand different things and I was no exception. The would of, could of, should of scenario was blazing through my mind.

I became very angry and "pissed off" that this had happened to me. I remember saying aloud, "I will not go out like this ......of all the things I have been through in my lifetime......I will not go out this way!"

Thank God for governing devices on diesel engines, or I would have probably blown up the engine trying to get help. I was having a very difficult time, in my impaired condition, operating the throttle and buried the tachometer at least three times. However, when I finally reached the top of the hill, I immediately dialed 911 and a person answered, "You have dialed 911... What is your emergency?", I attempted to respond and the call dropped. Then a weak feeling came over me along with a cold sweat. I knew what was happening and it meant real trouble. I was going into shock and if I passed out, it was over for me. Quickly as possible, I climbed off the machine and laid down in a drainage ditch with my feet up to treat myself for shock. Fortunately, this worked and allowed me to continue dialing 911. After about the fifth or sixth try, the call finally held and the paramedics and state police, including the life flight helicopter, were on their way.

After about 15-20 minutes had passed, four bear hunters came upon me and I was able to tell them what had happened to me. Once they found out the suspect was not verified as being dead, they immediately loaded their rifles and surrounded me and said, "Don’t worry guy, if he is still alive, he will not make it up that hill!" You do not know how comforting that was to me. Then, one of them said, "Hey bud, you know you are bleeding out the back too..." Luckily, they had lots of paper toweling with them and they plugged up the hole in my back.

During this time, I was still on the phone with the 911 personnel, as they require you to do this until help actually arrives. I kept asking them "where were they?", and she kept telling me, "They are on the patient." Finally, after 30 minutes had past, I was getting frustrated and angry. That is when they told me the "ambulance could not go around the suspects car until it was cleared by the State Police." I kept telling them they could access me by another gravel road further down the paved road and did not have to go by the suspect’s car. After arguing with them for what seemed a very long time, I received another break; the local game warden had come upon the scene of the suspect’s car and heard me talking to the personnel on the radio. He immediately, grabbed one of the EMT’S and said "I know where Steve is and how to get to him......get in my truck!" After 45 minutes from the initial call, help finally arrived. The life flight helicopter was on stand by in a local field, but since they were able to stabilize me, I was taken by ambulance to the local hospital about 20 miles away. Later that evening, I was transferred to another hospital with a trauma unit via a two hour ambulance ride. After the medical team finished working on me, I learned that substantial tissue and muscle damage had occurred, but no vital organs were hit, except for some bruising on my lungs, and I was lucky to be alive. Over the next couple of days, the doctors and medical staff were amazed at how quickly I was recovering and was discharged from the hospital in just 3 days. I was very sore, weak, and barely able to move around, but I could walk.

I have hunted all my life, been involved with guns, attended many tactical schools, and had emergency first aid training. Having treated several people in an emergency situation, I have seen broken bones and severe injuries. However, none of this prepared me for what I was about to see. When I got out of the hospital and went home, I realized then, just how much trauma bullets can actually inflict to the human body.

Believe me; you never want to be shot! The front of my torso from my waste to my neck and most of my back was entirely black, blue, yellow, purple just about any color you can possibly imagine. Internally, I was in deep pain in many areas and since they do not stitch bullet holes closed because of the necessity for them to drain and weep because of possible infection, constant discharge of fluids and old blood, sometimes heavy, continued for several days. Of course, I was still coughing up blood due to the bruising of my lungs. However, after utilizing the Energy Cleaner every day for 10-14 days, the bleeding/weeping stopped, the coughing of blood ceased, and 80% of my trauma and severe colorization was gone. At my follow up visit, the doctor and nurses found themselves in disbelief on how quickly I was healing. They just stood around me with my shirt off and shook their heads. Then, after less than four weeks using the Energy Cleaner, all the trauma was gone and my wounds were totally healed including my hand, which will require therapy in the future to gain the full use of it.

I am not a believer in painkillers and throughout the entire incident, including my stay in the hospital, I never took or was administered any painkillers. You do not know what pain is until you have someone digging in your shoulder for 20 minutes trying to remove a bullet. This was my choice, since it is my opinion; the healing process is slowed when the body is on drugs.

As of today, about 4 1/2 weeks after the shooting, I ran two, walked three miles yesterday, and went back to the gym, today, for the first time. Without, my back being totally healed on that fateful day, there would have been no way I could have moved quick enough in leaping off the backhoe and the third shot or possibly a fourth one would have killed me. There is no doubt the Energy Cleaner worked for me. Besides saving my life, it promoted almost super healing powers during the recovery process.

Many things went right for me and I can only be forever thankful, and the "will to live" is truly an amazing attribute the human body is blessed with. Additionally, I am sure someone was with me that day and I often think about that too. After the dust settles, you have a lot of time to think and your mind continues to run. I wonder, at times, if I should have seen this coming. Did I miss some clues or actions by the suspect in the previous months, maybe even the slightest detail? Although, he worked for me for years, I fished, hunted, and guided with him as well. We never had any real confrontation to speak of, and we always accomplished a lot together when he worked for us at camp.

Most of it does not make any sense and guess I will never know what was in his mind that day. One thing for sure, I have learned, you must be aware of your surroundings at all times, and expect the unexpected. This is especially true, when it involves business or personal relationships that may have gone astray. I do not mean that you have to live your life in fear, but be aware and conduct your daily life accordingly. Unfortunately, this is something I had become complacent with in applying from my tactical training. This will never happen again! Guaranteed!

A few days ago, one of my friends asked me, "How are you doing?" I thought for a moment, looked at him with a smile, and responded, "How would you think a guy is doing after he just won the biggest and most important lottery of them all?"℠ (Right-side navigation page SSI insertion)