Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

November 8, 2013

“Luke Strong” shirt fundraiser ends Monday

Amanda Browning
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg —

GREENSBURG – Last Sunday night, Luke Schmidt, 21, fell asleep while driving and crashed into a tree, leaving him with severe brain injuries.

He was lifelined to Methodist Hospital in critical condition, where he was put into a medically induced coma to give his body a chance to heal from the brain swelling. His condition is improving slowly, according to Luke’s sister, Megan, who spoke with the Daily News Friday.

“With each day, we are seeing small, confident signs of progress. We realize that it’s going to be a long road, but the main concern right now is whether or not the swelling will go down enough that we can bring him out of the medically induced coma he is currently in. We are hoping we can reach that milestone,” Schmidt's sister said.

The Greensburg community has banded together to show mass amounts of support for Luke’s family while he is in the hospital. Outpourings of love, prayers and well wishes have flooded social media with the people of Greensburg expressing their fervent hope that the 21-year-old will make a full recovery.

Megan and Luke’s best friend, Kelby Hedrick, has come up with a way to raise money to assist with Luke’s medical bills. They are selling “Luke Strong” tee shirts for $15 each. Shirts may be ordered at Game Plan Graphics, located at 123 North Broadway Street, or by contacting Megan. The deadline for ordering shirts is Monday, so orders need to be placed as soon as possible if one wishes to receive a shirt. Game Plan can be reached at 663-3238.

The shirts are black with red print. They say “Luke Strong” on the front and “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13” on the back. The left arm has “Swole Patrol” printed on it as homage to Schmidt, a workout enthusiast. Megan said he would frequently come home from weight lifting and say, “Guess who's home? Swole Patrol!”

“On behalf of my parents, myself and our family, we want to thank everyone for their prayers and support for my brother. Right now, we are all helpless to heal him. I wanted to feel like I was doing something and that’s where the idea for the shirts came from. It is my hope that when he wakes up, he will know the support and care everybody had for him by seeing everyone wearing the shirts,” Megan said.

Luke works third shift as a corrections officer at the Decatur County Jail. His coworkers are missing him while he heals and are eager to see him healthy and back to work, according to Decatur County Jail Commander Pat Richards.

“Luke is greatly missed here at the jail. We hope he has a speedy recovery. We’re like a big family here and everybody is feeling the effects of his absence. Everyone has really stepped up to help out and really come together in support for Luke and each other while still getting the job done,” Richards said.

Reports of what a great person Luke is and how much he means to his friends and family abound on social media – and the prayers keep coming. It is uplifting to see how many people are extending their thoughts and concern for Luke and his family. Members of Luke’s family have repeatedly turned to Facebook to express their gratitude for all the positive messages they have received since the accident. Messages can be found from everyone from high school friends to employers, all hoping for recovery.

“I hired Luke a little less than a year ago as one of our jail correction officers and since then have gotten to know him. He’s an outstanding young man with a bright future in law enforcement," said Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen. "He’s a great young man, and I wish him all the best and for him to get back to work soon."

According to Kelby’s mother, Joyce Domingo, “Luke Strong” wristbands are in the works and there may be a future fundraising event supporters can attend. Watch the Daily News for updates on Luke Schmidt's condition and notice of further “Luke Strong” events.

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004