Local

Friends Raising Money for Injured Forest Service Officer

Jack Dittmann suffered ‘significant injuries’ while training a government horse in mid-April

By Andy Viano

A fundraiser benefitting a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer injured last month while training his government horse had already raised $8,675 by May 3, as friends and loved ones attempt to support Jack Dittmann and his family on what is expected to be a long road to recovery.

Heather Mackenstadt organized a fundraiser on GoFundMe on April 21, six days after Dittmann suffered “significant injuries” including “severe internal damage” and an open-book pelvic fracture, according to the fundraiser’s description. Dittmann was initially treated at Kalispell Regional Medical Center before being transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, one of the region’s only Level 1 trauma centers dedicated to treating for major injuries. Dittman underwent “major surgery” at Harborview and was reportedly in stable condition as of April 21.

Dittmann and his wife, Jackie, were expected to remain in Seattle for several weeks and Dittmann is expected to endure “extensive rehab” in the coming months. A press release issued by GoFundMe said Dittmann will need to “learn to walk again” as part of his rehabilitation.

“Life and health are fragile elements,” Dittmann is quoted as saying in the GoFundMe description. “One day we are running … and swinging a leg up on a young horse, the next we are struggling to swing our legs in and out of bed. Hold your loved ones close, let them now what they mean to you and how grateful you are to have them along with you on this ride.”

The GoFundMe page says Dittmann was injured “while working and training his government horse” although it is unclear whether or not Dittmann was on the job when he was injured. Public information officials with the Flathead National Forest did not respond to the Beacon’s request for more information on Dittmann or the accident.

Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/emergency-medical-funds-for-leo-jack-dittmann.

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