A message from John about safety

We detailed the medical situation that fellow chimney sweep John O’Donnell is facing in a previous post (click the picture to see that story, and ways you can donate to aid in John’s recovery.)

John typed out this thoughtful letter which we wanted to share with fellow sweeps across the country and world:

“To all my fellow chimney sweep professionals, my name is John O’Donnell and I have been owner/operator of the Flues Brothers Chimney Sweeps located in Lakeville, Mass., for almost 30 years.

I recently fell about 20 feet off a ladder on to my back while servicing a chimney. I was conscious after the fall and vaguely remember the 45-minute ambulance ride from the job site to Rhode Island Hospital.

I suffered several fractured ribs on the left and right sides, a fractured sternum and most unfortunate was the fracture of my back at the level of the 11-12th thoracic vertebrae. The injury has left me currently paralyzed from the waist down. The prognosis for being able to walk again is uncertain at this point. A lot of damage was done and it will be a long road to recovery. I am hoping with time and hard work I will regain some mobility.

My message to you is to cherish every day and be as careful as possible. This was just a routine day of going to work and never thinking about the possibility something like this would happen to me.

We go on day-to-day wrapped up in our normal world of running our businesses with little thought that something like this could happen. This is a perfect example that accidents like this could happen to anyone of us.

Please be safe out there. It is so important to take the time and double check that our ladders are secure. Always use your ridge hooks and safety equipment at all times because taking foolish chances is never worth it.

I would like to deeply thank everyone for supporting me with your letters, calls, emails, and personal visits I have received by my many friends of the Mass Guild and CSIA to Spaulding Hospital where I am currently going through rehabilitation.

Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Sweeps luck to all of you,
John O’Donnell