Moretown man counts blessings after harrowing accident

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MONKTON, Vt. (WCAX) A Washington County man trapped for 12 hours under a tree last year and in danger of losing his leg, continues the slow road to recovery.

During a violent windstorm in November 2017, Anthony Kessler was sleeping in his yurt in Moretown, when a tree crashed through, pinning him on his bed.

"It was a journey -- recovery -- and I'm here," said Kessler.

On Wednesday, the first stop for this farrier has him in Monkton, caring for horses and thankful to do what he loves.

It might be hard to look at, but his scar shows Kessler's long journey -- countless surgeries, weeks in the hospital, and painful hours holding onto life. At one point, things looked grim for the 30-year-old. "I couldn't really use my leg. It was totally limp," he said.

His physical therapist said she couldn't help. "And I was like, 'Ok,' cried a little bit and I was like, 'I think I'm going to get it to work,'" Kessler said.

Reporter Ike Bendavid: Last time we spoke, you said you remember seeing death. What was that like?
Anthony Kessler: I saw death and it didn't leave. It's still on the back of my shoulder, being like, 'Is this your last one'?

A new perspective that fueled his fire to forge ahead. Each horseshoe he works on keeps him focused on how special life can be and how quickly it can change.

"I came back from that and I'm almost fully to where I was and it's like, I'm still going to die, this is crazy, what is important in my life? And I'm picking that out very acutely now," Kessler said.

He says he still feels pain, but he credits yoga and support from friends to get back to a normal life, good spirits, and a new appreciation.

"The best possible thing that has ever happened to me -- for real -- which is really crazy to say because it still is a struggle in some ways, but it was a metamorphosis," Kessler said.

He still has the yurt he almost died in and plans to re-purpose it, not to erase the trauma, but to embrace a turning point in his life.