Friends rally to help man hit by limb

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 14, 2012

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY – Charles Shoaf was a talker.
Friends and relatives said the 45-year-old’s gift of gab was “contagious.”
His wife, Tammy, said her husband’s spirit would “exhaust you.”
“But you wouldn’t get tired of listening to him,” she said, with a smile.
Tammy wants to hear her husband’s voice again. Friends want to hear another sermon from the tattooed pastor.
But Charles Shoaf hasn’t spoken a word since December, when a limb cut from a tree hit him and left him critically injured.
Between multiple stints in intensive care and physical rehab centers, Shoaf spent five months in hospitals from Winston-Salem to Charlotte.
Hospital bills could be in the millions of dollars, Tammy said. But she hasn’t gotten a final total.
The two bills she has received were from separate rehab visits: one for $98,000 and another for $101,000.
“It’s hard, but I can’t complain,” Tammy said. “God has been good to me.”
Charles has been back home on Goodman Lake Road since May. But he requires 24-hour care.
Days and weeks have been broken down into shifts for friends and relatives to monitor Charles. Tammy doesn’t have home health care anymore.But those who love Charles hope to help.
Jan Eger, who works with Tammy at an assisted living center in Asheboro, is helping host Chuck’s Ride – a motorcycle event to benefit Shoaf in November.
Proceeds will go toward medical bills and day-to-day expenses.
Eger said she met Charles about three years ago when he came to visit her then-boss, Tammy.
“This dude comes in and his bandanna is on backwards, sleeves cut out of his shirt,” she said.
“He said, ‘I’m here to see my wife,’ ” Eger said, laughing.
From then on, she said, Charles’ love of life and Christianity captivated her.
“You wanted him to finish his sentence so he would hurry up and start the next sentence,” she said. “He drew me in.”
Charles Shoaf used to be addicted to drugs and alcohol. As a young man, he joined a biker gang.
“I suffered with a drug addiction for 22 years,” Charles Shoaf said, in one of his last sermon’s given at Hillcreek Worship Center in Rockwell on Oct. 23, 2011. “I hurt everybody that loves me.”
For the last several years, Charles was the head of Grace Recovery Center, a Christian-oriented drug rehabilitation program.
Friends said Charles also preached at several churches in the area and was known for kind acts to strangers.
His 46th birthday is Wednesday.
The Shoafs have participated in a number of charity rides over the years, most for those they didn’t know, friends said.
On Nov. 3, they’ll be on the other side.
“I just want to honor my husband and honor the Lord,” Tammy said.
She said the rest will work itself out.
Doctors told Tammy Shoaf the immediate prognosis is unclear.
No one is sure what will happen in the next year, she said.
But Tammy said she’s seen significant improvement since her husband came home.
He’s been able to periodically point at things he wants and relatives believe his condition is improving.
Tammy hopes his voice is next.
“We just know it’s going to happen,” she said. “We just don’t know when.”
Tammy wakes up every two hours every night to check on Charles. She also commutes to her full-time job an hour away in Asheboro.
Through everything, she credits her mother, Lois, and others who help her with yard work and mundane household tasks.
“I couldn’t do it without my mother,” she said.
Chuck’s Ride will be held Saturday, Nov. 3, at Denton Farm Park, 1072 Cranford Road in Denton.
Kickstands will go up at 11 a.m. The cost for each bike is $15 and $5 for passengers.
An “autumn festival” will be held following the ride with gospel singing and other activities.
Anyone with questions can contact Jan Eger at 336-549-4106.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.