WILLSBORO — A community is pulling together to help a man whose hand was crushed in a logging accident.
Daniel “D.J.” Belzile Jr. had been logging for more than 20 years, said Wendy Sayward, who has known him since she was in the seventh grade.
“He actually logged when we were in high school,” she said.
On Oct. 22, Belzile was cutting a tree, like he had done countless times before, when it split and fell backward toward him, Sayward said.
His left hand was crushed between that tree and another behind him.
He lost his thumb, index finger and most of the skin on his hand, Sayward said.
His middle finger is unusable because it cannot bend, so he only has the use of his ring and little finger, and that is his dominant hand, she said.
Belzile has traveled with his wife, Tina, for treatment at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington every Monday and Thursday since the accident, Sayward said.
“They haven’t been able to start skin grafts yet,” she said. “It’s going to be quite a long process of reconstruction.”
D.J. can no longer work and is plagued with worry about how he will provide for his wife and three daughters, who are 18, 16 and 6 years old, Sayward said.
“He is devastated.”
And although Tina gets health insurance through her job, her wages aren’t nearly enough to cover household bills and expenses.
Tina has found coping with the uncertainty of her family’s situation difficult, but she’s hanging in there, Sayward said.
“I don’t know how she’s holding it together so well.”
Sayward and other family friends have been going to the Belziles’ home to help cook meals for the family and help take the children to sports practices.
But she wanted to do something more.