Veteran Who Was Struck By Lightning Fights For His Life Several Years After Escaping IED Blast
Luke Shimer, 30, of St. Augustine, Florida, was taking a call from his National Guard sergeant on the deck of his home one May night as it was storming outside.
Suddenly, lightning struck their house, according to his father-in-law Shane Sinnott.
"It shook the whole house and it was the loudest noise I'd ever heard," Sinnott told InsideEdition.com. "I found [Shimer] within 60 seconds of him being struck. His eyes were open, but he wasn't breathing."
He started giving his son-in-law chest compressions and once the paramedics arrived, he was resuscitated but was in a coma.
For the first three weeks, the veteran was in dire condition. Sinnott said, "As a family, we pretty much didn't leave the hospital. We slept at the hospital the entire time."
But, Sinnott said things started looking up when eight weeks after the incident, Shimer began opening his eyes.
"He's actually progressing from being completely in a coma to opening his eyes and starting the process of waking up," he said. "He doesn't really respond to commands, he doesn't focus often, but the goal right now is to get to the point where he will just wake up."
Though Sinnott said they have no idea when he will recover, family members are optimistic Shimer will pull through. After all, he's cheated death before.
While he was deployed in Afghanistan, Shimer and his team were in a military vehicle when an IED detonated under them.
"It exploded, but it was buried too deep," Sinnott said.
Luckily, each of the soldiers escaped with minor injuries, but tattooed the date, December 30, 2010, on their wrists to commemorate the day they all survived.
"Luke refers to that as his 'Alive Day,'" Sinnott said. "That's the day he should have died.
"We kind of joke now that when he does wake up, his left wrist is going to have May 17, 2016. He should have died May 17, but by the grace of God, he didn't. He's still alive, and he's still fighting."
They have since started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for his treatment.