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Carpenters help with medical bills after tragic car accident

Carpenters Help Family Recover After Head-On Collision

On a foggy Thursday morning in April, Adam Stampley boarded a flight from Indianapolis to Las Vegas. He took his seat and smiled. This was a huge moment in his career with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, a culmination of three years of hard work and dedication.

Union officers selected Adam to attend the Journeyman Leadership Program at the Carpenters International Training Center, a recognition of his leadership potential and dedication to the brotherhood. “Everything is coming together,” he thought as he glanced at his phone hoping to hear from his wife Erica before the flight.

It was odd he hadn’t heard from her yet, despite repeated calls and texts. His wife and two kids dropped him off at the airport less than two hours before. As the plane taxied slowly down the runway, Adam was relieved when he felt his phone vibrate and he saw Erica’s name on the screen.

That relief was short-lived. It didn’t take long before Adam registered what the man on Erica’s phone was saying.

“Your family was in a head-on collision with a semi, you need to get here immediately,” a police officer said.

The moments that followed were some of the worst of Adam’s life. The officer said his wife and daughter may not survive. The flight crew couldn’t stop the plane. He had only a minute or two to make a call before his phone lost signal. So, Adam called a friend, lost signal, then sat on a flight for four grueling hours, wondering if he still had a family to go home to.

 

Union Helps Family After Tragic Accident

The Stampley’s vehicle after a head-on collision with a semi nearly killed three members of the family. (Photo provided by Adam Stampley)

 

The Aftermath

When the flight landed, Adam got an update from the hospital. One of Erica’s kidneys was destroyed in the accident, the other was failing. She was bleeding internally. Her femur was broken in half. She’d died and been revived three times already. Doctors gave her less than a five percent chance of living.

His six-year-old daughter Araya was at a different hospital in a coma. Her appendix ruptured, her bladder was punctured, and she’d undergone surgery to repair injuries to four areas of her spine. She would survive, but her dreams of being an Olympic gymnast were over.

Eight-year-old Thomas fared better. He broke three ribs and fractured his finger but remembered the entire accident and was scared.

Carpenters help with medical bills after tragic car accident

6-year-old Araya recovered at Riley Hospital for Children after a serious car accident in 2019.

Miracles

Now in Las Vegas, Adam reached out to Local 133 members Jason King and Greg Tucker. They helped him navigate the airport and get a flight back to Indianapolis. It took a total of twelve hours before Adam saw Erica, and days before he saw the kids.

At the hospital, Erica’s condition was so grave doctors had Adam make two sets of plans: one if she passed away and another if she survived and couldn’t walk. He wouldn’t need either of them.

Despite the odds, Erica survived. Thomas was released two days after the accident, and Araya almost two weeks later. To help with expenses, Locals 133 and 301 took up a collection at their union meeting and on job sites, raising over $2,000 for the family.

With Erica recovering in a rehabilitation hospital and expenses mounting, Adam went back to work for Circle B. Union brothers and sisters donated hours so he could see his wife and still get paid.

“Something like this shows you the meaning of brotherhood. I couldn’t believe how good people were to my family,” Adam Stampley said.

In August, the kids started school. For Thomas, it was nothing new, but Araya was in the first grade and it was her first day of school ever. It was her first day without her mom, in a neck brace, with hair lovingly styled by her dad. “I wouldn’t say we were thriving, but we were surviving,” Adam said, adding that he learned a lot about princesses over the summer too.

Indiana Carpenters Raise Money for Family in Need

Adam Stampley and his children visit the Indiana State Fair where carpenters raised money for his family.

Carpenters Care

Adam smiled for his kids, but he still worried a lot. He worried about Erica, wondered if she’d be able to walk again, about the house, and how to get it ready for her eventual return. He had a lot of things to worry about, thankfully how to pay for the over $3 million dollars in medical bills was not one of them.

“I didn’t have to worry about how much it would cost to save their lives, because that’s what union insurance is all about,” he said.

Thanks to his union benefits, Adam will only owe a fraction of the cost of medical bills, around $10,000. Much to his surprise, his union family stepped in once again to help with that burden. The Stampleys were recipients of money raised for “Carpenters Care”, an annual fundraiser that benefits an IKORCC family or families in serious financial need.

Business representatives, apprentices, and MAC members built and sold raffle tickets for a large playhouse. Members from Ohio and Kentucky joined brothers and sisters from Indiana for a charity ride in Greenwood. Altogether, members raised over $7,000 for the family.

Indiana Carpenters help family recover after car accident

Adam Stampley and his daughter Araya build a toolbox at the Indiana State Fair, where IKORCC members raised money for their family.

Nearly seven months after the accident, Erica was released from the hospital. In October, she walked by Adam’s side as he went from apprentice to journeyman at his IKORCC graduation. Just days before Christmas, she will have what they hope to be her last leg surgery, the 30th one since that fateful April morning.

Adam is looking forward to a brighter 2020.

“When I walked into that hospital room, I fell to my knees,” he said. “I am so thankful to everyone that helped me and my family back up.”

Carpenters help family recover after tragic car accident

Adam & Erica Stampley with EST Todd Pancake at Adam’s apprenticeship graduation in October.

 

 

Megan Walkowiak Receives Appreciation Award from Carpenters Local 435

The Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) selected Megan Walkowiak from Carpenters Local 435 to represent the Early Intervention Committee’s motto for, “Contractor, Community, Customer”, during the summer conference. She is a 3rd generation carpenter. Her grandfather, Benny Sroka (deceased), was an Honorary 65 year member, and her father, Dave Walkowiak, is a 39 year member. 

Like most young adults graduating high school, Megan had ambitions. She decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business management, with a minor in human resources. After entering the world of nine-to-five, she decided being behind a desk wasn’t for her. Instead, she wanted to pursue a career as a contractor. She approached her father about joining the carpenters union and he insisted she had to go through the apprenticeship program.

While going through her apprenticeship, Megan excelled and started to stand out as a leader. During the third year of her apprenticeship, Megan was chosen to go to the International Training Center (ITC) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Upon her return, she immediately applied the skills she learned from her training. Megan began to mentor other women in the trade and started giving back to the community. Megan stated that one of her favorite volunteer projects was reroofing a house for a needy family whose child had cerebral palsy.

Megan was appointed as Chairperson for Locals’ 435 and 373 Sisters in the Brotherhood (S.I.B.) Committee, where she conducts monthly meetings and continually inspires women to excel with their contractors, community, and customers. Recently, Megan was awarded a plaque of appreciation for all the work she has done. The plaque was presented to her at the August 8, 2017, Carpenters Local 435 Union meeting. Her father, along with her UBC sisters from Carpenters Locals 435 and 373, were in attendance to witness her accepting the award. The award was presented to her by the officers of Carpenters Local 435, several IKORCC representatives, and a special appearance by Teresa Moore, the IKORCC S.I.B. chairperson.

It is an honor to have this young lady go from an apprentice, journeyman, to newly a signatory contractor for our organization. The IKORCC looks forward to seeing great things come from her in the future and wishes her the best in her career!