If anybody knows first-hand what it’s like to have their life turned upside down in an instant, it’s Moscow resident Jay Ostvig.

The 49-year-old father of five was staining his house on July 27 when he fell from a third-story scaffold. He was flown in critical condition to Harborview Hospital in Seattle with a broken back, torn aorta, broken ribs, fractured clavicle and a severe concussion. He survived nine hours of surgery to reinforce his spine and protect his spinal cord from further injury.

Three months later, Ostvig is paralyzed from the chest down. He hopes to recover more mobility and sensation and is working on rehabilitation in Tacoma at Park Rose Care Center in a respiratory therapy unit.

Among those supporting him in his battle to stay strong are his wife, Jennifer, his five children, Bergan, Traye, Lukas, Nattie and McKinley, his sister-in-law, Cindy Rosen, and his brother, Michael Ostvig.

Rosen said Ostvig is constantly going out of his way to lift weight off other people’s shoulders.

“Most people will tell you he’s the person that will always help and do service projects,” she said. “A lot of people in the community already know him just because he’s that kind of guy to always help somebody paint a house or move.”

Ostvig and his family have lived in Moscow since 2013. He is an employee in the Washington State University billing department and an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He enjoys spending time outdoors and staying active through activities such as running and biking.

Jay’s older brother, Michael Ostvig, traveled from Minnesota at the end of the summer and stayed with Jay in Tacoma for more than a month. He said the strength Jay has exhibited through his hardship is commendable.

“He’s got such a positive attitude. He just doesn’t give up — he keeps moving, even though this is definitely a challenge,” Michael said. “He doesn’t have a pity party. Instead, he says, ‘this is where I’m at, and I’m going to move forward positively.’”

The Ostvig family is asking for community support through this difficult time. A GoFundMe page has been created online where people can donate money to help with medical costs and support the family. Following his hospitalization, Ostvig will require intensive physical therapy and total medical costs are expected to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Those interested in donating funds to help a man who has always helped others can do so at this shortened web link: bit.ly/3oInj1J.

Ellen Dennis can be reached at (208) 883-4632 or by email at briefs@dnews.com.

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