An avid hunter, 76-year-old
Norman Lutz was sitting in a deer stand in the Virginia Mountains when he had a
stroke that left half of his body paralyzed.
The minister of Antioch
Baptist Church in Lincolnton spent seven hours in that stand doing what came naturally
“I prayed,” Lutz said. “I
prayed for my family, my children. I prayed for everyone I knew to pray for.”
Lutz also quoted scripture
to himself and sang hymns. During those seven hours, he knew he had had a
stroke and he knew he might die, but Lutz said he wasn’t scared.
The stroke came soon after
climbing a 25-foot deer stand for the day.
“I said ‘Whoa I feel funny.’
I didn’t feel faint. I just felt weak, no pain,” Lutz said.
He felt no pain during the
following seven hours. Although half his body was paralyzed, he managed to hold
on and not fall out. Eventually, his hunting partner came back to the stand and
ran to get help. It took six men from the Baywood Rescue Squad two hours to get
Lutz out because of his position in the tree. Lutz was suffering from bleeding
in the brain and a blood clot in his lungs. His wife, Betty, said they couldn’t
treat one because of the other.
He was treated in Virginia
and then sent down to Winston-Salem. Doctors did not think he was going to
live. Four hospitals and one rehab center later, Lutz returned to his
church on Jan. 17.
“Doctors said it was a
miracle,” Lutz said. He sat in the front pew instead of the platform, and when
it was time to preach, he spoke from his wheelchair.
“I just wheeled myself up to
the communion table. I turned around,” he said. “They wanted to hear the story
about the tree and how God intervened.”
Lutz is now back to
preaching full-time. He is regaining mobility on his right side, although the
process is a long one. He says the stroke has affected his preaching style, but
no one seems to mind.
“I’m possibly not as lively
as I used to be,” said Lutz, who has no plans to retire.
“I just preach and the
people listen a little better for some reason.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Grano is a
Lincoln Times-News reporter. Click here for original article.)