By Kelly Werthmann
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– A volunteer Pueblo firefighter and South Metro Fire Rescue dispatcher, who has helped thousands of people around Colorado, is now the one who needs help.
With his son by his side, Kyler Hewes is perhaps a walking miracle.
“I’m just thankful I’m alive,” Kyler said.
A little more than a month ago, the South Metro Fire Rescue dispatcher and volunteer Pueblo firefighter was in a coma.
“I’m feeling a lot better than I assume I was then,” Kyler told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “I’ve made some really good progress.
Kyler has no memory of the crash that nearly took his life on Aug. 16. Just a few minutes into his 2-hour commute to work from his home in Pueblo, Kyler somehow lost control of his car and crashed into a concrete culvert. He suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as a broken leg.
“As a volunteer firefighter and being in this field,” Kyler explained, “You see pictures from accidents and you usually know the outcome. Looking at [pictures of his crash] now, I’m shocked.”
After receiving treatment at Parkview Hospital in Pueblo, Kyler transferred to Craig Hospital in Englewood. He’s spent the last several weeks regaining his mental and physical strength.
“Kyler came here and he had a clear goal: return to work, return to his family,” Kelly Broland, a Speech Language Pathologist at Craig Hospital, said. “So those became our goals.”
Kelly explained that with Kyler’s brain injury, he had some trouble early on with processing speeds and high-level attention. She helped him by doing 911 call scenarios, typing and other tasks associated with his job as a dispatcher.
“I really took the time to learn his job,” she said. “To find someone so passionate and so good at what they do, it made the task fun. He tackled every challenge beautifully and with such insight. It’s my hope he returns to work soon.”
Kyler – who turned 27 today — said his desire to get back to answering real 911 calls was a big motivator in his recovery.
“When you hear a person on the phone and they need help and you’re able to truly help them, it makes a big difference in your life,” Kyler said, adding he’s anxious to be back with his fellow dispatchers. “They’re like a second family.”
Kyler also said he wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for his supportive family, especially his wife who never left his side.
“One of our biggest fears in all of this was, ‘Will it be a full recovery? Will we get Kyler back?’” Taylor Hewes said. “I feel like we really have.”
Kyler also said he’s extremely grateful for the amount of support people have shown for his family while he’s been in the hospital.
“That alone was amazing,” he said. “Colorado really stuck their hearts out, so I want to thank them.”
Kyler is still on a long road to recovery, but he is ready to walk out of the hospital stronger and go home.
“I’m ready for a king size bed,” he said laughing. “I’m done with the hospital bed.”
Kyler will be in his nice king bed soon as he is set to be discharged from Craig Hospital on Friday. He will continue outpatient therapy closer to his home in Pueblo before he can be cleared to possibly work again.
LINK: Kyler’s GoFundMe Page
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.