WHAT OTHERS SAY: Public outrage secured insurance coverage for Joplin tornado survivor

Thursday, October 27, 2011 | 6:42 p.m. CDT

Mark Lindquist's story has the right kind of ending — finally.

And it's because of the outrage of readers and the pressure placed on an insurance company that Lindquist's medical bills for injuries he suffered on the night of the May 22 tornado will be covered.

Globe reporter Wally Kennedy first told Lindquist's story on Oct. 9. It was the kind of story that summoned both tears and anger at the same time.

When the May 22 tornado struck, Lindquist was working at a group home at 2302 Iowa Ave. He tried to save three residents, but the men died.

Lindquist was in a coma for nearly two months, broke every rib and lost most of his teeth. He also fell ill to a fungal infection that killed five tornado victims.

Yet, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America of Lansing, Mich., denied coverage to the 51-year-old caretaker who was employed by Community Support Services of Joplin. His employer didn't oppose it, but the insurance company deemed Lindquist was at no greater risk that day than anyone else.

What they failed to mention was that Lindquist didn't try to save his own life.

He and a co-worker threw a mattress on the top of Tripp Miller, Rick Fox and Mark Farmer. Lindquist was found in rubble two houses south of the group home.

His rescuers thought he was dead at first.

When he was picked up and laid on a door to be taken to the hospital, bones from his right shoulder fell into the rubble.

Here is a man who put others before himself.

Recently, after offers of support from across the country, the insurance company said it would cover him.

We wish Lindquist the very best as he goes forward with his life. We are proud to be able to tell his story.

Copyright Joplin Globe. Courtesy of the Associated Press.

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