Pella Chronicle

February 15, 2013

A healing pick-up

The Chronicle

Pella — A bright shiny red 1968 pickup sat outside the door of Pella Regional Health Center. The newly restored vehicle was a surprise to skilled care patient Lloyd Becker. After a fall severely injured Becker, he really didn’t think he’d see this pick-up again – and certainly not see it look brand new!

But Becker’s son Gene knew that his dad needed a something special to encourage him as he fights to recover from traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures. And old pickups were a special hobby for both of them.

“Dad’s always taken care of other people, including me,” said Gene. “Now I’m taking care of him, and he’ll be headed home with me in early February. While we had sold several of his old cars and pickups to help pay for his care, this one we kept. I worked with friends, including Chuck Lewis and Mike De Vos, to restore it and bring it in to him.”

Becker is well-known in Pella as the owner of Becker Roofing, now owned and operated by his son Gene and his wife Jane. Last spring, while visiting his son at a job site, Lloyd fell from a roof to a deck. He was sent on Life Flight to Mercy ICU where it was touch-and-go for a while. After a month, he recovered enough to enter rehab at Madonna Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln, Neb. Three months later, he entered the skilled care unit at Pella Regional to continue to strengthen his body and mind through physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

His injuries, including fractures, a punctured lung and a traumatic brain injury, left Becker needing to re-learn many everyday processes that most of us take for granted. But during the three months that Lloyd has been at Pella Regional, his son Gene is able to see progress.

“He started with a need for two people to help him walk a short distance,” said Gene. “And those people would provide assistance about 75 percent of the time. Now he’s at a point where he only needs one person helping about 10 percent of the time. His swallowing reflex is slowly returning, and I can tell that he has better attention span and is able to share memories with me.”

In February, Becker will be headed to his son’s home to continue his recovery. Gene’s set up his lower level for his dad, adding a stair life, hospital bed and remodeling a bathroom. But best of all, he hopes to take his dad home in this “new” old pick-up.