Donny Herbert was a hardworking Buffalo city firefighter who, in December 1995, was searching the attic of a burning house when the snow-laden roof collapsed. For six minutes he was without oxygen. A beloved husband, a father of four boys, a neighborhood fixture who was always willing to lend a helping hand, Donny fell into a vegetative state that lasted nearly a decade. His prognosis was poor, and while he could open his eyes, he was unresponsive to the world around him. Donny Herbert was, for all practical purposes, gone. Until one day, in April 2005, when he woke up and spoke almost nonstop to his family and loved ones for nearly sixteen hours.
The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up is the story of this remarkable moment, which was covered by the press worldwide, from the New York Times to the AP newswire. For his wife, Linda, who had held the family together for years, who had prayed nightly for Donny’s recovery, it was a miracle. For his doctors and nurses, it was a medical mystery. For his sonsÑincluding his youngest, with whom he had never before had a conversationÑit was a blessing. After his remarkable day, Donny Herbert fell into a deep sleep and never experienced a comparable moment of clarity. He died, in February 2006, from pneumonia.
Written by Linda’s cousin, The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up makes the reader wonder: Was it an experimental drug cocktail or an act of God that brought Donny back? Linda believes that each contributed to the miraculous day when he woke, but more than anything, she credits Donny himself-a man with the strength to will himself back into his family’s lives, if only to remind them one last time of how very much he loved them. This is as much Linda’s storyÑone of perseverance and faith-as it is of a remarkable husband, father, and firefighter.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of History eBook: The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up|
|Release Date: 11-27-2007|
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|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up
On a chilly Friday afternoon just before Christmas 1986, Donny Herbert kissed his young wife, Linda, on the forehead, bear hugged his three toddler sons, and set off for his first-ever shift as a Buffalo firefighter. For the twenty-five-year-old Seneca Street kid, this was one of the proudest days of his life. Donny might not have gone to college, but he was the first member of his family to join the department. The written and physical tests, months of limbo waiting for a slot, eight difficult weeks at the Buffalo Fire Department Training Academy-all of it had led to this moment. Donny intentionally took his time putting on his official uniform-navy blue button-down shirt, navy blue pants, black dress shoes. He packed his '84 Chevette hatchback with his personal set of BFD turnout gear and waved good-bye.
"Good luck," Linda called from the front-porch doorway of their rickety Spaulding Street duplex, the shouting of the children drowning her out. Don Jr., a happy-go-lucky St. Agatha's kindergartner, was particularly amped up. "Daddy's gonna ride on the fire trucks!" he yelled as his younger brothers, Tommy and Patrick, parroted him, the three youngsters popping up and down like a set of firing pistons.
In a few days Donny would start an official four-day tour as a member of the department's second platoon, which meant a rotating schedule consisting of two nine-hour day shifts (eight A.M. to five P.M.) and two fifteen-hour evening shifts (five P.M. to eight a.M.), followed by four days off in a row. He was being thrown into the mix midcycle, starting with an overnight stint. Donny was assigned to Ladder 6, housed along with Engine 21 on the