Dr. Tom Iverson and his wife, Diane, recently returned home from a 10-day California vacation, where they toured beaches, visited family and enjoyed the beautiful West Coast weather. But if you ask Dr. Iverson or Diane if they thought this trip would have been possible in the fall of 1999, their answer would certainly be a resounding no.
Diane thought she had lost her husband in 1999 when he fell off the roof of their Pella home. Tom was taken by LifeFlight to a Des Moines hospital, where he would remain in a coma for three weeks. During that time, Diane toured On With Life and knew right away that it was where Tom should be. Tom started to emerge out of his coma just days after arriving and spent the next seven weeks at in the intense rehabilitation program.
"I had such great support at On With Life," said Diane, who drove to Ankeny daily to be with Tom. "I was thrilled to see him progress each day, and he recovered much better than I ever anticipated."
His remarkable recovery allowed him to return to his role as Provost at Central College for three more years before retiring in 2002. Tom also served as an On With Life board member for 10 years, the first person served to ever sit on the board.
"I was so pleased to be asked to join the board. It was an affirmation that I still had something to offer, and I could utilize my experience for a good purpose," said Tom. "Being able to serve on the board was a tribute to the care I received at On With Life. They helped me rehab to a point where I was able to serve in this capacity."
Now, Tom and Diane boast about their new, exciting life. In 2010, they moved to Tom's childhood home, a ranch in a remote area near Roundup, Montana. Tom and his nephew now run the ranch, complete with 250 cattle. Diane is a self-proclaimed rancher's wife with her own four-wheeler.
"Being involved with the ranch is good therapy and allows me to stay active," said Tom. "It's something I enjoy."
"I always wanted to come back and live on the ranch, but after his fall, I feared I wouldn't have that opportunity," said Diane. "It has been a dream come true to return to Montana. It's a wonderful life."