OREM, Utah -- Kelsae Stentzel wears her husband's wedding ring around her neck. She also wears a small silver handcart on her necklace. "Handcarts are not meant to be pulled alone," she said. "Lots of people are pulling for us."
Stentzel can't wait for the day when she can put her husband's ring back on his finger. Orem firefighter/paramedic Michael Stentzel has been in a coma since suffering an intracranial hemorrhagic stroke.
"It's completely unexpected," said fellow paramedic and longtime friend Brad Willis. "He could out-hike me any day of the week. He's in good shape."
On Nov. 2, Michael Stentzel had just completed a daily exercise run with other members of Orem Fire Station No. 1 when he became unresponsive. The first ones to attend to him were his own crew members.
"It was the best scenario for him," Willis said.
Stentzel was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent 2½ hours of surgery. Now his coworkers and his wife, who is due to give birth to their first child, a boy, early next year, try to keep their spirits high and support each other as they wait for Stentzel to come out of his coma.
"Mike is very well known," Willis said. "He's always involved in everything. He's one of the most loyal friends I've ever had. He's extremely good at everything he does."
Willis said firefighters have been visiting the hospital every day, sometimes several times a day.
"They say they're bugging us, but it's been really nice having them there," Kelsae Stentzel said. "We miss him. We're excited for him to come back and wake up one of these days."
Kelsae said she sits with her husband in the hospital room throughout the day, holds his hand and exercises his arms and legs. Doctors are unsure on his long-term prognosis, she said. Stentzel began his firefighting career 15 years ago in California. He has been with the Orem Fire Department for about five years. Donations to help pay for his hospital bills can be made at all Zions Banks under Michael Stetnzel's name.
Firefighters say he is also very artistic and they, are planning to put some of his artwork on T-shirts to sell with all proceeds going to his family.