Veteran, father injured in workplace accident comes out of coma just in time for holidays

OMAHA, Neb. (KETV/CNN) - An Iowa family says they are getting the Christmas miracle they’ve been praying for as an Army veteran and father of three makes a miraculous recovery.

Christmas Eve will mark three months since 39-year-old Tony Belt fell 18 feet from a scissor lift and suffered a traumatic brain injury in a workplace accident at Katelman Steel Fabrication in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

With help from his three young sons and therapists at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, 39-year-old Tony Belt is recovering from his traumatic brain injury.
With help from his three young sons and therapists at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, 39-year-old Tony Belt is recovering from his traumatic brain injury. (Source: Belt Family/KETV/Hearst/CNN)

Up until last week, Tony Belt was in a coma, but just in time for the holidays, he started opening his eyes. Doctors hadn’t expected him to wake up.

With help from his sons, ages 4, 3 and 7 months, therapists at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, soon put the Army veteran to work.

"We are just waiting for him fully to wake up," said Kyli Belt, Tony’s wife. "They talk to him and play with him. The baby lays in bed with him.”

With Tony Belt improving, his wife says the family needed some holiday cheer. Friends started sending Christmas cards, which the boys love opening and reading. The cards now decorate Tony Belt’s hospital room.

"Decorating Dad’s room was the No. 1 thing because if we didn’t decorate for Christmas, Santa wouldn’t know to come,” Kyli Belt said.

The Belt family has a GoFundMe account to help with medical costs. It has raised more than $12,000.

During the eight years Tony Belt served in the Army, he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was injured in a tank explosion, and in 2006, he was shot in the head. That incident ended his military career and gave him the Purple Heart.

Copyright 2019 KETV, Hearst, Belt Family via CNN. All rights reserved.