Coltin Steele grew up in Eagle, Idaho as a confident, tough farm boy with a large supportive family. In June 2010, life became especially busy for him. He was working hard mowing fields and preparing for his upcoming wedding. The day before his wedding, his time was already filled with last minute preparations when his friend asked him to take over a mowing job for him. Coltin agreed, but felt quite rushed.
As he started mowing the field with an old tractor and mower, one of the wheels became wedged against a fence post. Normally, he would have turned off the machine before unjamming the wheel, but he was in a hurry and the tractor was old and difficult to turn off. He decided he would just move the wheel quickly and be on his way. That decision changed his life. As he tried to maneuver the wheel loose, he lost his footing on the wet grass and slipped into the back of the mower. He quickly pulled himself out, but to his dismay, his shoe was completely gone and his foot was severely damaged. All he could think was, “I can’t believe this just happened. This is NOT good.”
Instantly, he started making phone calls. The phone call to his father was particularly distressing as the shock of what had just happened began to sink in. His family, along with his fiancé, Candice, and her family rushed to meet him at the hospital. When he arrived at the ER, the on-call doctor immediately assessed him and determined that his foot was not salvageable. The doctor started preparing to amputate Coltin’s leg up to his knee. His family was devastated. They promptly decided to do whatever was in their power to avoid that outcome. They knew Dr. Tadje personally, so they started trying to track him down. Dr. Tadje was headed out of town with his family, but as soon as he heard about Coltin’s predicament, he rushed into the hospital to see what he could to.
Dr. Tadje promptly took over Coltin’s care, and much to the family’s relief, had a more hopeful prognosis. He pledged that he would do everything in his power to save Coltin’s foot. Though there was no guarantee that the surgery would be successful, the skin would survive, or the foot could be functional in the future, he promised to try. Coltin’s family was overwhelmed with gratitude, and decided that anything was better than amputation. They decided to move forward with a reconstructive surgery, remaining full of cautious optimism.
Dr. Tadje expertly handled the long surgery, and was able to successfully piece Coltin’s foot back together despite how badly it had been mangled. For weeks, Dr. Tadje nursed Coltin’s foot and little by little it started to heal. The process was long, painful, and traumatizing for both Coltin and his family. He had been knocked down and his confidence was tried. However, he clung to positive thoughts like a lifeline.
Incredibly, he and Candice were able to get married just 3 months later. His healing process was far from over, but the worst was behind him. Within a year, he was selling security systems door to door. This job required him to walk all day. At first, his foot ached so badly he could hardly cope. But gradually it became stronger. Not long after, he was able to return to sport and enjoy his favorite activities again. Though in the beginning he took some guff for an embarrassing wipe out on the indoor soccer field, no one ever knew he had a compromised foot.
He and his wife now enjoy a wonderful life together. Coltin has graduated from Boise State and has a great job. He and his wife have twin toddler girls who keep them very busy. They are grateful to Dr. Tadje who opened doors that were threatening to close. They are grateful for the willingness to try and save what had been deemed unsalvageable. Coltin can’t claim to have a beautiful foot, but he has a fully functional foot that allows him to live life to the fullest. And for that, he is incredibly thankful.