The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 28, 2012

Tornado victim’s recovery ‘miraculous’

SOUTHWEST CITY, Mo. — Carolyn Mckinlay did not know much about baseball, but she knew it was important to watch the sixth game of last year’s World Series.

It was important because her future husband, Mark Lindquist, had a ticket to see his beloved Cardinals take on the Texas Rangers in the seventh game at St. Louis.

“To see the game, I went to this bar I had never been in before in Great Falls, Mont.,” she said. “My neck hurt after looking up for so long at the TV. It was my first full game of baseball.”

As she recounted the story of going to a bar to see a baseball game, Mark shook his head in disbelief.

“She did not know where the shortstop was,” he said, rolling his eyes.

The Cardinals would win the sixth game and go on to win the seventh.

A month or so later, Mark and Carolyn would marry. She knows a lot more now about baseball, and she is learning how to fish along Big Sugar Creek in McDonald County.

Though their lives might best be described as unsettled, they hold tight to each other, taking it one day and one hurdle at a time.

“He’s doing a lot better than he thinks he is,” Carolyn said. “We remember where he was. It seems slow to him. For us, it’s miraculous.”

When the tornado struck Joplin on May 22, 2011, Mark was working at a group home at 2302 Iowa Ave. He and a co-worker tried to save three residents of the home by throwing mattresses on top of them and then climbing on top of the mattresses to hold them down. The three men, who had Down syndrome, died.

Mark, who had no medical insurance, was in a coma for nearly two months after the tornado. All of his ribs were broken. He lost the bone structure in his right shoulder and much of the muscle there. He lost many of his teeth. He also fell ill to a fungal infection that killed five tornado victims.

He was close to death.

“When they took him to Freeman, they said he had a 2 percent chance to live,” Carolyn said. “They were talking about taking him off of life support to use it to help someone else. Mike Byers, one of the guys who found him, told them: ‘He’s fighting! Please don’t unhook him.’

“Thank God they didn’t.”

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