By Allison Redmond
CLINTON—On Oct. 22, 2017, Joe Fuller lay on a cement slab after missing his step and falling eight feet onto the walkway leading to the basement entrance of his home.
He noticed a beautiful bronze cross that had almost cushioned his head before it hit the cement. In the distance, he saw one thing very clearly: the train he had used for years to minister to children.
What he didn’t know what this experience would soon prove to be what Fuller and his wife are calling a miracle, one that made him understand God’s unique call on his life.
For the last several years, Fuller—a member of Broad Street United Methodist Church—has run a train ministry for children called the Jesus Loves Me Train. But when the accident occurred, everything was instantly and indefinitely put on pause.
In the moments after his fall, Fuller’s body was in shock, preventing him from being able to move.
“I can remember waking up and I was totally paralyzed,” he said. “I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t move any parts of my body. Nothing worked.”
As feeling began returning to his body, he began to trace through training he had been through to obtain his emergency medical technician license. He was sure he had a head injury. But that didn’t stop him from devising a plan to get help.
“I knew in order for my wife or somebody to hear me, I was going to … get myself out,” Fuller said.
He put his hands and feet on the sides of the walls and slowly moved his head away from the building. Finally, his wife heard him calling and found him.
When he got to the hospital, he found out he did not have a head injury, but instead had broken his neck.
The doctor told his wife he would die before making it to any major hospital
He did, however, make it to the emergency room at Greenville Memorial Hospital and was admitted to the trauma unit.
The next day, with full headgear on and his head immobilized, he got up and surprised everyone by walking. The following day, he walked even farther.
Because of the distance he was able to walk, he was allowed to go home after about 48 hours in the trauma unit. However, this did not come without great pain.
Although the road to recovery was paved with confusion, many doctors’ visits and weekly X-rays, Fuller said he can only be described as a miracle.
“All the doctors do agree that I am a miracle. There’s no reason for me to be alive,” he said.
His main motivation was to get back to his ministry with the Jesus Loves Me Train. Fuller, who is known as the Choo-Choo Man, said his reason for surviving was to continue with the train.
The Jesus Love Me Train is a train ministry aimed at introducing children under the age of 6 to the love of Christ. With school and law enforcement partners, Fuller brings his Jesus Loves Me train to preschools, elementary schools and churches across South Carolina to introduce children to the love of Jesus.
“What (this incident) has done for me is create more determination,” Fuller said. “More determination now than ever to get this Jesus Loves Me Train ministry a viable, working ministry.”
Today, the Jesus Loves Me train ministry is still going strong. To contact Fuller about bringing the train to your church or preschool, call 864-923-1444 or [email protected].
By Allison Redmond