By Leah Hutchinson ’16
Mr. Colin Nelson, Midwood’s Earth Science and Medical Issues teacher, was admitted to Cornell University burn treatment center. Mr. Nelson is a native of the South American country Guyana. Over the Christmas break he took a trip back to his home country. While there, he, along with a close friend found themselves in a car accident. The car caught on fire, and Mr. Nelson tried to help his friend, but unfortunately he did not succeed and his friend died. The Midwood Science teacher suffered from second and third degree burns throughout his body.
“He is doing well considering what he’s been through,” said anatomy teacher, Ms. DeSimone. “He has had a few complications with his recovery, however, the doctors seemed pleased. He will be able to come back to work, and he is really looking forward to being surrounded by his students.”
Guyana does not have a burn treatment center in their hospitals. Therefore, Mr. Nelson was not able to receive the proper treatment. As a result, he decided to be flown back to New York where he received the treatment needed. Ms. Ross was able to help Mr. Nelson by picking him up from the hospital.
“I volunteer on an ambulance, and because I volunteer on an ambulance I got my ambulance to come meet him. So we went inside and we met him right when he came out of customs. We put him on the ambulance and drove him straight to Cornell Burn Unit in the city. It was about a half an hour from the time that he came out of customs to the time he was in the emergency being treated. When he came he really was not doing well. In Guyana the medical care was really horrific, and so he knew if he stayed there, because he was getting such poor care he would not live. So he got on a commercial plane and came home. He was in really bad shape, but now he is doing much better. He is walking around.”
Many teachers often visit him in the hospital. When they return to school they give the students an update on his progress. Teachers also take cards and gifts that students have made for Mr. Nelson and deliver them to him.
“When I heard about it I really took it to heart because I realized you have to appreciate life. I did not know him as a teacher, but with Mr. Pestano we wrote him two letters with signatures of over 40 students. Mr. Nelson is a hero and I think he should be rewarded because not everyone could have done what he did.” Rauel Florez ’16
After teaching for years, Mr. Nelson has left an imprint on his students. People hope that he will continue to make a rapid recovery. If you would like to send Mr. Nelson a card or a gift of any kind, see Ms. DeSimone, Mr. Canepa, or any of the teachers located in the room A217.