We talk about safety at the Chimney Safety Institute of America to the general public. But at CSIA, we also preach to chimney professionals about the need to think about their own health as they move from appointment to appointment.

Well, it means a great deal more to our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps when that message comes from one of their own brothers and sisters in soot.

And that’s what happened earlier this year to John O’Donnell. As we reported on April 2 [read: “A Sweep In Need“] John suffered life-altering injuries after a fall from a ladder while servicing a chimney. The chimney industry, including many of John’s colleagues and admirers, took notice.

His accident was CSIA’s “most clicked” story of the year. Not far behind that was John’s gracious first-person article in which he provided these words of wisdom.

MORE: CSIA’s most-watched videos of 2014

“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,” O’Donnell wrote. “This is a perfect example that accidents like this could happen to anyone of us.”

Other topics that resonated with our audience on this blog included a piece on an attorney’s general showing the public how to avoid chimney scams by hiring qualified inspectors, such as CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. We also had a well-read piece on changes to CSIA certification for 2014-15 and an article on Christmas decorations, your chimney, and the 3-foot-rule.

For O’Donnell and his family, things haven’t been the same for the operators of the Flues Brothers Chimney Sweeps located in Lakeville, Mass., for almost 30 years.

CSIA was proud to participate in fund-raisers, including one with CSIA President Mark A. Stoner’s company, Ashbusters Chimney Service, to help with his long-term recovery. We continue to wish the O’Donnell family the very best. (You can reach them through his son, Justin, via his csia.org profile.)