MERRILL - Organ donors give many people a second chance at life. A Merrill teen saved many lives after he died in a car accident in 2009.
Jordan Buehler's organs were given to people who were on the organ waiting list for a long time. Matthew Meyer is one of them.
"I was near death, two steps from death's doorway," said Matt Meyer. "Now, I have a brand new life."
Meyer will never forget the amazing gift Buehler gave him: the gift of life.
"I was born with only one kidney and it was golf ball sized. The doctors always knew it was going to fail. They just didn't know when," explained Meyer. "Then, I hit puberty and started growing like crazy. I grew like five inches. Eventually, my kidney just couldn't keep up anymore so I started kidney failure."
Matt's family members tried to give him one of their kidneys. But, doctors couldn't find a good match.
"I rejected my entire family for a new kidney," said Meyer.
Then, he started getting very sick.
"Dialysis stopped working for me. I started retaining all the water. I was carrying around 40 extra pounds of water weight," explained Meyer.
Matt was put on the organ waiting list in June 2009.
It was up to a stranger to save his life. Jordan Buehler did just that.
Jordan died in a car accident in November of 2009. His parents donated his organs after they found his organ donor sticker on his driver's license.
"Parts of him can live on and he can do good for other people, whether he knows it or not," explained Jordan's parents, Bryan and Joleen Buehler.
Doctors decided to give Jordan's kidney to Matt.
"I got a call at 11:45 at night on the 25th of November saying they had a kidney in Madison, Wisconsin. Within 15 minutes, we were on the road, driving up," said Meyer.
The moment was bittersweet for the Meyer family.
"[I thought] oh my gosh, he's finally going to get better. Oh my gosh, something happened to somebody. They told us there was an auto accident in Northern Wisconsin," explained Matt's parents, Karen and Jim Meyer.
In the operating room, doctors were hopeful that Jordan's kidney would save Matt's life.
"They told me the kidney started working right then and there. Even before they sewed me back up," said Meyer.
Matt quickly got better, but he wanted to know more about the person who saved his life.
"I was very curious. I wanted to see who it was and what he was like. But I couldn't contact the family because I thought it was too soon," said Meyer.
Five years later, Matt reached out to the Buehler family.
"It's my five-year anniversary and I wanted to meet the family. I wanted to see who brought me new life," said Meyer.
In between tears and smiles, Matt showed the Buehler family the tattoo he got in Jordan's memory.
"He's shocked us with his tattoo on his arm. It was very nice for him to do that. It shows us how appreciative he is for a second chance at life," explained Jordan's father, Bryan.
The Meyer family got the chance to show how grateful they are for Jordan's gift.
"Jordan will always be a part of our family. In March, we wish him happy birthday and we thank him every thanksgiving and pray for the family," said Matt's parents.
The families will forever share a special bond.
To become an organ donor, all you have to do is select the donor option when you apply for a license or ID card. You can also apply online. The link is attached below.
MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.
The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.
When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.
"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.
Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.
Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.
"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.
The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.
Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.
PRICE COUNTY - One of the men who led police from several counties on an hours-long manhunt near Park Falls in June will soon return home to Florida.
Daniel Schoonover, 23, appeared in Price County Court on Wednesday. He pled no contest to all three charges of escaping a criminal arrest, resisting an officer, and possessing LSD.
Schoonover received a sentence of deferred judgment for the escaping charge and a total for 150 days in jail for the other two charges. He also has six months to pay back more than $900 in court fees.
Back in June, Schoonover and two other men were driving to a music festival in Highbridge when they were pulled over. Police found LSD in the car and tried to arrest Schoonover and the other man, but they took off into the woods. Police from Price, Rusk, Taylor, and Saywer counties as well as the DNR and the U.S. Forest Service all helped in the search. Schoonover was eventually spotted on a county road around 8 o'clock that evening.
He's been in the Price County Jail ever since. That's 144 days, and he will get credit for the time served.
According to the criminal complaint, Schoonover said he ran away because he was afraid of getting arrested in another state. Schoonover said he didn't know about the drugs in the car, and that he only drove with the other men because he knew they were headed to the music festival and needed a ride. Before jail, he worked as a cook in Florida.
His attorney said Schoonover does not have a criminal record anywhere else.
The other two men involved, Adrian Rodriguez and Kevin Sweeney, will return to Price County Court in November and December, respectively.
CRANDON - Kids learn math and English in school, but this evening, the Crandon school district taught their students how to stay drug free. All year long, the school has been promoting values such as respect and forgiveness and tonight was no different.
The Red Ribbon Walk started at the courthouse and then went to Crandon High School. Along the way, walkers saw signs with facts about living a drug free life. No matter how young the students were, they still heard the message loud and clear.
"It's really good for the youth because they can see not to do drugs. To have this event, it should be about a fun experience and it's really good for kids," said 5th grader Bryce Marshall.
Even with the cold temps and rainy weather, there was still a great turnout. After the walk, there was a presentation by motivational speaker Mike McGowan to really push the message of staying drug free.
"I think it's important that we bring forward all the reasons why drugs are bad for kids. They know drugs are bad but how does it affect their lives?" said Crandon parent and teacher Agnes Keller.
The Red Ribbon walk was just one of many events that the school will have over the year to show students how to live out good, positive values.
THREE LAKES - Baseball fans in Three Lakes watched the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the World Series on Tuesday night.
A few of those fans might live on Cy Williams Road, or down the street from Cy Williams Park. As they watched, they may have drawn the connection between that Northwoods man, Cy Williams, and the game they were watching on the field.
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