Community Helping Victim of Freak Accident

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

Stay up-to-date with KAKE News:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's been a little more than three weeks since a freak accident at a Winfield swim meet sent three women to the hospital in critical condition. We're told all three women are back at home, but they have a long recovery ahead of them.

We spoke with one of the victims of the accident who says now members of her community are helping to lift her spirits. Paula Kim says the fact that she is alive, is nothing short of a miracle.

“I truly believe that I should have died that day,” Paula Kim said.

Kim tells us she remembers everything that happened July 13 in the middle of her son Justin’s swim meet.

“I thought it sounded like gun shots but it was the tree cracking and it fell. I heard someone yell 'tree!' but that was as much notice as you had before it was down,” Kim said.

Kim says from the moment the tree fell, people started trying to help. In cell phone video shot the day of the accident, you can see a group people actually trying to lift the tree off Kim and the others trapped underneath.

Kim and her son tell us the help kept pouring in, even after she was released from the hospital.

“We've just seen how amazing this community is, I mean, we knew but now we've seen it in action just how amazing this place is,” Justin Kim said.

First, friends built her a wheelchair ramp at her house.

“It is probably the most industrial-looking ramp you'll ever see - it's absolutely perfect,” Kim said.

And now, band boosters for the Derby High School marching band, which Justin is a part of, are raising money to help Kim and her family with anything they might need in the future.

“We knew we had band camp coming up so we thought we'd put it on all the kids and see if they could bring in some money,” band booster president Siobhan Fugle said.

Paula still has one more surgery left, followed by a lot of rehab.

'It's a lot of work but I’m determined,” Kim said.

But she says her long road to recovery is a little easier knowing she has so much support behind her.

“I just can't ever say thank you enough. I am truly blessed,” Kim said.

One of the other victims, Dr. Lorraine Alvarado, also has a child in the Derby High School marching band. The band booster president says they are raising money for another week and then will divide the money between the two injured band mothers.

If you want to help, you can email the Derby High School band booster president at

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
KAKE TV 1500 N. West Street Wichita, KS 67203-1323 (316) 943-4221
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 165093506 -
Gray Television, Inc.