Team Fuller came together in a hurry.
On July 11, two days after Chad Fuller was critically injured in an accident, the wrestling coaches of David City High School wanted to do something, anything, that could lighten the emotional toll on the family of the school’s assistant principal. Chad broke his neck July 8 in a lake accident at a family gathering near St. Paul. The injury left him paralyzed, facing many tests and a long road to recovery.
Back in David City, his friends on the staff of David City Public Schools reached out, finding some way they could help the Fullers out.
Coach Tahner Thiem talked to Amanda Novak, who is a friend of Chad’s sister. He learned the Fullers were repainting their house, and the project was about half done. Thiem and David City Elementary Principal Ernie Valentine looked at the house and figured they’d need a few helpers.
“It looked like two-hour job for five people,” Thiem said. “Word spread about that, and all of a sudden five went to 30. I only picked up a brush for 15 to 30 minutes.”
The crew got assistance from Ace Hardware, which brought extra paint brushes and donated mulch to help take care of the flower plantings. There was only so much room to paint. The extra help came in handy in the hot and humid conditions.
Thiem said that he wasn’t surprised that school’s staff, friends and family wanted to do something for the Fullers.
“I think it’s a because of this event that you really see it,” he said. “It’s a little more visible now but it happens within the school all the time.”
Thiem said he traveled to Grand Island to visit Fuller and told him about the painting project.
“It seemed like he was really happy,” Thiem said.
Team Fuller extends across much of the state. From Chad’s colleagues in the wrestling coach ranks to his school family in Syracuse and the ties he has made in David City for four years, people were pulling for his recovery.
Nine days after the accident, on a Facebook video, Chad Fuller expressed his appreciation. “Thank you for the support,” he said from his room at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “I love you all very much.”
Rusty Fuller, Chad’s brother, said that speaking for the brief video was a strain, “But it was worth it.”
His brother’s biggest cheerleader, Rusty said that depending on further tests, Chad could be headed to a rehabilitation hospital as soon as Tuesday.
“He rested really well today but is exhausted from his big day,” Rusty said Monday. “He is comfortable with his new room and nurses so that is good news! Will check in tomorrow with results!”
In Syracuse, a softball tournament was organized for Aug. 19, and its bracket of 20 teams quickly filled up.
Ace Hardware installed an option on its credit card payment pad to funnel an extra dollar or two or more from each purchase to the Fuller family. Donations toward Chad’s medical expenses can be sent to “Chad Fuller Benefits” at any U.S. Bank branch or to Countryside Bank in Syracuse.
The quick actions of the Fuller family kept Chad alive immediately after he suffered a broken neck.
Rusty Fuller said the family was enjoying a great day together at Rusty’s home on the Lake of the Woods near St. Paul. The activity included a Slip and Slide Waterslide next to the lake, and Chad went down the slide head first.
Family members said Chad apparently put his head down as he entered the shallow water, breaking his neck. Rusty and his wife pulled Chad from the water, and Chad’s son, Raymond “Mack” Fuller performed CPR as emergency response crews responded to the scene.
Chad was rushed to CHI St. Francis Medical Center in Grand Island, where he underwent several hours of surgery. He underwent further procedures on July 12. On Sunday, he was moved to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Raymond Sueper of Friend sat patiently at the back of the room July 12 as the City Council progressed through its long agenda. More than once he heard a reference to city issues where a building inspector would be needed.
The items included the work beginning on the Sabata Addition, rules required for where fencing can or cannot be installed on street corners. The discussion wasn’t new. Over the years, the Council has grappled with situations where property owners ignore or neglect to research what they can and cannot build.
Then Item 23 came around, and the Council voted 5-0, with one council member absent, to contract with Sueper to handle the building inspector duties for the city.
Sueper and his wife Carey operate Coordinated Professional Services. Sueper said that he intends to continue his construction business but is also available to work with David City’s building code and enforcement.
The focus of the discussion turned to how much of Sueper’s time the city could afford at $75 per hour, with $150 per hour for emergency on call inspector-related services, and mileage of 67 cents per mile. Council members said the city would confine the city’s building code work to Sueper’s regularly scheduled hours. The cost of Sueper working two days a month, or $5,068, was determined to be too much for the city’s budget.
Councilman Skip Trowbridge said that the city budget could handle the cost of Sueper working two days one week, then one day the next week. That cost, $3,900 per month, was approved by the council.
The annual cost would be $46,800 for 624 hours. Additional costs would be paid for after hours phone calls or emergency requests.
Sueper said that his time would be committed to David City when he is not working on construction projects.
“I’m an old building contractor,” he said. “I’ve got a list of people want me to build things for them. I am not going to go out and look for five communities to do the same thing. I am here for you guys.”
Sueper has been a contractor for 13 years and has worked as a building inspector for the City of Crete for nearly 10 years. He described how Crete has established its building codes by looking for examples in other cities, such as Seward, York and Lincoln.
The Council discussed that Sueper’s work would be supported by fees for building permits.
“I believe this position can generate a revenue stream,” Mayor Alan Zavodny said.
With the addition of new houses being built in the city with the Dana Point development, fees will begin coming in to help pay for Sueper’s work.
“We are going to add property tax revenue, add value and housing,” Zavodny said.
Sueper added that property owners' insurance rates would go down for the city with a building inspector and enforced building codes.
“You are going to get some bigger, broader benefits,” he said.
Sueper will be involved in getting the city’s building codes in order. He will begin his work for the city in August.
*In other action, the city council gave final approval to the annexation of land across Nebraska 15 from Aquinas Catholic High School. The annexation was done at the request of GDC Properties LLC.
*Opened the meeting with a discussion, under officer reports, of a power interruption for Electrical Components International (formerly Fargo Assembly) on June 29. The plant's power was interrupted because a power line pole, damaged on June 13, needed to be repaired. The city had received a letter from plant manager Bernie Helgoth protesting how the city handled the situation. Helgoth wrote that the company offered to shut down for a Saturday repair date, but the city’s line repair crew rejected the offer. Helgoth said the interruption carried a heavy cost to make up for lost labor in time to fulfill company orders. Mayor Alan Zavodny addressed the city’s approach to the matter, and said the repairs could not wait beyond June 29 because of concern about expected stormy weather that could further damage the power lines. City Councilman Skip Trowbridge, who raised the issue, objected to the city's approach. Pat Hoeft, the city's electric department supervisor, offered to write a letter of apology. No action was taken on the matter.
*Opened the Public Hearing to consider a redevelopment plan amendment for the Matt Thomas real estate described as Lots 1 – 12 in Block A, and Lots 1 – 12 in Block B, of the Larry J. Sabata 3rd Addition. A special meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 26 to continue with this topic.
*Passed and approved Resolution No. 21 – 2017 de-blighting certain areas within the corporate limits of David City. Before approving the resolution, the Council took out a statement that the conditions that led to the earlier blighted designation had been addressed.
*Approved the establishment of a committee, with three Council members, to determine when nuisance properties have been addressed sufficiently to be declared back in compliance.
* Rex Rehmer, one of the organizers of the Butler County Fair fireworks display, asked the city for $1,500 in Keno Funds to help pay for the display. A review of the funds available from Keno showed that no funds were available, so no funds were approved. City Clerk Joan Kovar explained that the city had to cover a large prize payout and that keno revenues were down.
*Authorized the purchase of a new vehicle for the Sheriff’s Department estimated at $20,466. The cost came in lower than projected, Council members said.
*Authorized advertising for bids for the demolition of the old pool house located on the City Auditorium lower level parking area. The council has approved moving a garage owned by David City Public Schools to the location for storage of athletic equipment.
* Authorized Mayor Zavodny to negotiate with Mike Davis of Olsson Associates, not to exceed $30,000, to oversee the water/sewer line installations at Sabata’s 3rd Addition.
*Declared the property at 281 South 8th Street in violation of City Codes.
*The Council voted to send notices requiring nuisance abatement to the owners of these properties: 278 S. 7th Street, 909 N. 9th Street, 226 N. 3rd Street, 240 N. 3rd Street.