Sheila Stogsdill

Special to the Grove Sun

CHOTEAU - An Amish grandmother described as “one of the kindest women in the community” was paralyzed as a result of an accident involving a horse-drawn buggy, a family friend said Wednesday.

Ida Yoder, 76, was in critical condition Wednesday at St. John Health System in Tulsa. “She is paralyzed from the neck down and has no movement of her arms and legs,” said Darrell Yoder, a friend who is not related to the family.

Ida Yoder and her husband, Nelson Yoder, were returning from visiting her sister on Sunday afternoon when they were caught in a fast-moving storm and their was buggy toppled by strong winds. A downburst hit the area on Sunday with estimated winds of 60 mph, said Amy Jankowski, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tulsa. “The storm was over before it started,” Darrell Yoder said.

Nelson Yoder was driving the enclosed surrey buggy pulled by their 1,100-pound horse. The buggy was fl ipped onto its right side, Darrell Yoder said. Nelson Yoder crawled out of the buggy, calmed the horse and tied it to a fence. Then he ran a quarter of a mile to a neighbor›s house for help, Darrell Yoder said. The community has a telephone building for emergency calls.

The Chouteau Fire Department was busy with other calls but arrived within 10 minutes, and the ambulance arrived about fi ve minutes later, Fire Chief Ted Key said. Rescue workers secured Ida Yoder and pulled her out of the overturned buggy, he said. “The local Amish community pulled the buggy upright and took it back to their communityto be repaired,” Key said. Darrell Yoder is a Mayes County commissioner whose district covers the Amish community of about 600 people between Chouteau and Inola.

Adherents of the religion are known for their simple ways, and most members earn their living as farmers and carpenters. The Yoder home has running water but no electricity or telephone. Ida Yoder's neighbors plan to remodel the house to fit her medical needs, Darrell Yoder said.

The family has no medical insurance, but the Amish community will hold fundraisers, and an account was set up at a Chouteau bank. Nelson and Ida Yoder have five children and numerous grandchildren.

Strong winds from the storm snapped utility poles and damaged several homes, including the Osage school gymnasium roof. Several barns southwest of Chouteau were flattened, and damage was reported in the Wickliffe community near Salina. The Amish settlement is the largest in the state and is about 100 years old, said Gina Plank, manager of the Cheese House, an Amish deli and bulk food store. Yoder said he is a former member of the Amish community but became a Mennonite as a young man.

HOW TO HELP

Donations can be made to the Ida Yoder Medical Benefit Fund at the Bank of Commerce, P.O. Box 849, Chouteau, OK 74337.