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News and Notes from KidsPeace

KidsPeace Associate Remade into Better Person

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KidsPeace electrician Al Barnes returned to work at the Orchard Hills Campus in Orefield, PA, this week, and he was extremely happy to be back. In July, Al  had a terrible motorcycle accident on his way home from work, and his life changed forever. Al was placed into an induced coma to keep him from moving after a severe head injury that caused significant swelling to his brain. It was a touch and go situation for a while, and doctors were not sure if Al would survive. But Al's family and KidsPeace colleagues had no doubt that Al would be back -- he has so much to do.

In addition to his regular duties at KidsPeace, Al is also a pastor who has his own church in Allentown, PA, and who volunteers after work to listen and give hope to the children at KidsPeace. He was sorely missed while he was gone, and his flock and co-workers did not forget him. In fact, they held a fundraiser to help defray his medical and living expenses while he was recuperating. Al spent three weeks in the hospital and another three weeks at a rehabilitation center before going home for the long journey back to full strength. He had surgery again in October to insert a plastic plate in his head to protect the injured area. He went through months of physical and occupational therapy before being pronounced ready to drive and return to work last week.

Al refers to himself as "the Miracle Man of KidsPeace" and firmly believes that his amazing recovery was the result of prayers and positive thoughts from his "KidsPeace Family" and members of his church. Al affectionately rubs his now bald head and points out his deep scars. "This plate is held in with titanium screws," he says, "so if someone tells me I have a screw loose, it may be a true statement." Always a man of great humor, Al acknowledges his gratitude for his gift of recovery with frequent jokes and a constant smile.

The 48 year old Barnes was overwhelmed by the happiness the KidsPeace staff showed when he returned. "People told me they were close to tears over seeing me," Al confides. "I can't get over how many people are so glad to see me!" It was no different at his church. After he left the rehabilitation center, Al went to a Friday night service and planned to stand to address the congregation for five minutes. Twenty minutes later, he stopped talking because he voice was going, but his energy felt limitless. Al's church is the Kingdom Roadhouse, where he preaches every Friday evening to visitors from all denominations and faiths. Many members are bikers who really relate to Al's biker persona. The children at KidsPeace are drawn to Al's calm and spiritual nature and turn to him for spiritual guidance. Al volunteers with the Spirituality Committee and participates in events such as Gospelfest.

When discussing his miraculous recovery, Al says that he "received a do-over from God, and God remade me into a better person." He says that his faith is stronger than ever, and that he he can hear God better than ever before. Now that he is running on all cylinders again, Al plans to visits victims of motorcycle accidents in the hospital and rehab centers to provide counseling and offer prayers. "I have a unique perspective now, and very few people could fill that space like I can," Al says with a smile.

 

 
   
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