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Gondolfi meets his life-savers
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Warren County Sheriff’s Department deputy Brent Steward met the man he helped save. A reunion between emergency responders and Aaron Gondolfi was held Sunday. The Warren County resident lost his arm in a chainsaw incident in May. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Aaron Gondolfi was reunited on Sunday with a few of the emergency responders who saved his life two months ago.

“I’m glad I was able to meet them. Their quick response saved my life and I’m extremely thankful to each of them,” he said.

On May 19, Gondolfi was using a chainsaw to remove a tree from the side yard of a home at 124 Kennedy Circle in the Mt. Leo area. 

The chainsaw snapped back and sliced off his left arm, cut through his safety harness and sliced into his left leg. He fell 30 feet to the ground. 

A reunion was held at Warren County EMS Station 1. Among those in attendance were EMS employees Jason Rice and Kurtis Triplett and Warren County Sheriff’s deputy Brent Steward.

Steward was first on scene and applied a tourniquet to the left arm, which was severed just above the elbow, and held it until EMS arrived.

“Thank you for what you did for me,” said Gondolfi, as the two shook hands.

Steward replied, “You’re welcome. I’m glad to see you’re doing so well.”

“I am,” said Gondolfi. “Thanks to you guys. That day could have been much, much worse.” 

Rice replied, “This is what we want to see. We want a good outcome. We don’t always get it, but we want it.” 

“I was lucky that the harness was cut and I fell,” said Gondolfi. “If it hadn’t, I would have been dangling 30 feet above the ground and you guys wouldn’t have been able to get to me in time.” 

Rice replied, “If bad luck can go right, it did that day.” 

EMS and deputies packed the arm in ice in hopes it could be reattached by surgeons. 

“When I woke up after surgery and my arm wasn’t there,” said Gondolfi, “that is when I knew they couldn’t reattach it. I have phantom sensations that can be very irritating. Sometimes I can feel my fingers digging into my palm or that my knuckles need popped.”

Since the incident, Gondolfi has been trying to regain any memory of what happened. He recalls being in the tree and waking up briefly in the ambulance, but nothing between the two. 

“You were awake,” said Steward. “You responded to every question I asked you.”

Gondolfi replied, “I did?”

“We had a conversation,” said Rice. “You were awake the whole time. You told me that you had just replaced the chain on the chainsaw.” 

Gondolfi replied, “It bugs me that I can’t remember any of that. I want to remember. I’ve visited the site and walked around the tree. I hoped that would do it, but nothing came back to me. Maybe someday it will.” 

The next step in recovery will be a prosthetic fitting, a body-powered prosthesis which will be operated by the muscles in Gondolfi’s upper arm. He then must learn to use it.

“I’m looking forward to a prosthetic,” he said. “I’ve been fishing. I’ve played golf. I’m getting by with one hand, but there is so much more that I’d like to do. I’m ready to get back to it.”

Unable to attend the meeting were Warren County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Jon Odom and EMS employee Bridget Evans.