Published On: Wed, Mar 5th, 2008

Leise's recovery called a miracle

Cedar County News
BOW VALLEY —  Denis Leise nearly lost his life in an accident last Fall.
Miracles and the power of prayer, along with an outpouring of love, have brought Denis Leise back home to Bow Valley.
A little over five months ago, the Leise family was told Denis probably would not live through the  night.

Denis fell from a roof on Sept. 22 while he was doing some repair work in Yankton.
“I had told her I would fix part of her roof,” said Denis. “I am usually pretty good on a roof, but I took a bad fall.”
Denis suffered a severe neck injury and was unable to breathe, even though he had fallen only eight or nine feet.
“He was unconscious when he fell,” said his daughter Tammy. “They are not sure why – it could have been something with his heart.”
Tammy does know that a guardian angel was with her Dad that day.
Denis was working alone on the roof, but a 14 year-old boy saw him fall.
The boy’s Dad and a neighbor were at Denis’ side very quickly – one of them was an EMT.
“It is what saved me,” Denis said.
Within a short time Denis was air-lifted from Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton to an Intensive Care Unit at Mercy Medical in Sioux City.
“When we first got to the hospital they did not think Dad would make it,” said Tammy. “The first night he was in a coma and he was not breathing on his own. We were told he had a brain injury. Our family just took over the waiting room.”
Denis said he does not remember any of his seven-week stay in the hospital in Sioux City.
His memory started to come back on the flight headed to Craig Hospital at Englewood Colorado where he would stay from Nov. 5 through Feb. 22.

When he was taken off some of his medications his memory started to return, his daughter said.
Denis said his first memory after waking up was knowing that his wife Karen was right there with him.
Karen rarely left his side in the hospital from the very first day of his injury through the last day of his stay at the rehabilitation center in Colorado.

Denis and Karen and their children have received an abundance of support and love ever since the accident that nearly took Denis’ life.
Denis had a lot of visitors and support while he was in Sioux City but it did not end when he was moved to the hospital in Colorado.
There were visits from their children, as well as sisters, nephews, cousins and other relatives and friends who traveled to Colorado.
Letters, cards and e-mails were a daily occurrence. Others sent angels, some mailed holy water and there were people from every religion who were praying for Denis.
“I believe the prayers made the difference,” said Denis. “I did not have much of a chance to make it.”
Father Mike Keeting of the Bow Valley Church came twice a day at different times while Denis was still at Mercy Medical Center.
The people from the other parishes were so good, Karen said.
Two live Christmas trees and boxes were delivered to Denis’ room at Christmas time.
A card arrived every day during the Advent Season from the kids in the Holy Family CCD.
“We were there during the holidays,” said Denis. “All of it made the time go a little faster and it was nice to have the company — we were not alone.”
On Valentine’s Day a huge card arrived with a picture of each of the children who attend the Children’s Hour Day Care in Bow Valley.
Denis has worked for the state of South Dakota for the past 22 years.
He met a lot of people during that time – they are keeping in touch with Denis since his accident.
Even the communities the four Leise children now call home have rallied with support.
“For five months it has never slowed,” said Karen. “It is amazing.”
Denis and Karen will be married 40 years in April.
They have four children and six grandchildren.
Tammy lives in South Sioux City, Tim is at Mead, Tony lives in Valparaiso and Tiffany makes her home in Howells.
Daughter Tammy gave her father a little credit for all of the support and love the family has received.
“I always knew Dad was a nice guy,” said Tammy. “I just did not know all these other thousands of people also knew it.”