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Burn victim on the road to recovery

Samantha P. Hawthorne
Staff Writer

“It is going to be a long road to recovery but so far things are going smoothly. David is an amazing young man and he is doing everything in his power to be normal.”
Denise Sassman
Mother of David Beavers
The Peninsula gas tank explosion June 2 drove communities within Plumas and Lassen counties to action, providing support and encouragement to injured Ferrellgas technician David Beavers.

Beavers, 27, suffered second- and third-degree burns when a propane tank he was replacing within the Lake Almanor Country Club exploded.

He remained in the hospital until June 26, and is currently living with his mother in Elk Grove where he receives personalized in-home care and physical therapy. He also attends monthly survivors’ meetings to help cope with the emotional pain the injury caused.

His quick actions to minimize damages to the home and injuries to its owners, Mike and Diane Moe, have touched locals. Communities throughout Plumas and Lassen have since raised thousands of dollars to help support his recovery. Donations have been made from individuals, clubs, businesses and other organizations.

Beavers’ mother, Denise Sassman, said Ferrellgas has taken care of all of what the Division of Workers’ Compensation considers necessary medical expenses.

His workers’ compensation claim, however, does not cover specialty items to aid in his recovery, such as protective clothing and compression garments. The expenses associated with his in-home care also go uncovered, and only a portion of his lost wages are paid.

Sassman said all donations made have been put into a special recovery fund to help cover expenses not paid for by workers’ compensation. She said approximately 85 percent of the donated monies have not been used, but expects that to change when workers’ compensation no longer provides for his needs.

Beavers and his mom said they are amazed by the generosity of the local communities, and are so thankful for the help received.

Every donation made where an address was supplied has been met with a personalized thank-you card from the family. Concerned that he was not able to thank everyone individually, however, Beavers requested to express his gratitude publicly in writing.

Beavers returned to the incident scene several weeks ago, hoping to reach out to the Moe family to see how they are doing; however, they were not home at the time of his visit.

“Even though the accident was not his fault, he carries a huge burden that he was involved. He is heartbroken that this happened to them and their home, and was concerned how it affected their lives as well,” said Sassman.

Prior to the explosion, Beavers was planning to move to Westwood from his residence in Chilcoot. He was preparing to manage Ferrellgas’ new office in Susanville.

While the accident has delayed his transfer, Beavers’ next step in life is to complete his move. He plans to do so by the end of August; however, it is unknown when he will return to work.

Every six weeks Beavers is evaluated to see if he can return to Ferrellgas. His next evaluation is in September. “He would like to get back to work as soon as possible, but physically he is unable to,” said Sassman.

Beavers is an outdoor enthusiast, but is currently unable to spend much time in the sun. His mom said the accident has changed his life, but she believes by moving to Westwood he will flourish.

Sassman said this experience has made her understand why he wants to be a part of the Westwood community.

“It is going to be a long road to recovery but so far things are going smoothly. David is an amazing young man and he is doing everything in his power to be normal. He is very driven in his recovery and insists on helping himself get through it,” said Sassman.

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