Owning a 1967 Camaro would be a dream come true for many teenagers back in the early 1970s. For Deryl Edmond as a 16 year old, this was in fact no dream, but a reality. The dream quickly turned into a nightmare, though, on a cold rainy night in September of 1973. As he was driving his Camaro on a lonely stretch of highway north of Curryville MO, Deryl topped a hill, and lost control of the car; the Camaro overturned several times, ejecting Deryl into a ditch. It was not until later the next day that a passing motorist found Deryl, mistakenly thinking he was dead. As Deryl tells it, “my face was as blue as my Camaro.” A hearse was originally summoned to the accident scene, but when they realized he was still alive, Deryl says they quickly transported him to Pike County Memorial Hospital in Louisiana MO, and later to Blessing Hospital in Quincy IL. Deryl mentions that he was in a coma for 12 weeks, and when he eventually woke up, he “had to learn everything all over again” due to the head injury he had sustained. “I wasn’t supposed to walk or talk again”, Deryl says. His doctors at the time said he would be “a vegetable” for the rest of his life. “I guess I heard them say that when I was unconscious, and I wanted to prove them wrong”, Deryl says.
Did he ever!
Not more than a year or so after his accident, Deryl was walking across the stage in 1975 at Bowling Green High School to a standing ovation as he received his diploma. Today, Deryl is enjoying retirement in his own home that he shares with two other roommates in Bowling Green MO. Throughout the years, Deryl has never allowed his head injury and the physical and mental challenges this has presented to prevent him from being successfully employed in the community and living his own life. He has worked as a custodian at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Monroe City MO as well as at St. Clement Catholic Church in St. Clement MO. Darrell recently retired, but does keep busy doing things he likes to do.
Deryl is an avid outdoorsman, and although he is no longer an active turkey hunter as he once was, he mentions that fishing is something he may still be up to doing on occasion, and a trip or two to Bass Pro may also be in his future!
Deryl likes to attend the Bluegrass Festivals in Curryville and looks forward to visits with his family who live in the Curryville area. Deryl likes to play cards and do word search puzzles while at home. He attends the Cowboy Church in Bowling Green and is also an active member of People First, a self-advocacy organization for persons with developmental disabilities.
Deryl receives residential supports in his home from Ruth Jensen Village (RJV) and Community Integration supports from the Pike County Agency for Developmental Disabilities (PCADD). These supports enable Deryl to be an active and contributing member of the greater Pike County Missouri area, and allow him to do the things he wants in retirement.
Deryl Edmond is a success story because he has proved all of the naysayers wrong. Not only did he survive a terrible car crash when he was young, his dedication and work ethic to rehabilitate his body and mind after sustaining his head injury eventually led to him to being successfully employed, living in his own home, and living life on his own terms.
If there is any truth to the adage that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Deryl Edmond might just be able to go toe to toe with Superman at this point!