BELLINGHAM - Friends of a Bellingham window washer have set up a fund to help pay for his hospital bills after he crashed through a glass awning last week.
Bruce Sherman, who has washed windows for 37 years, hit his head on the sidewalk after a second-story awning gave way under his weight on the afternoon of Sept. 11. He suffered six broken ribs, dislocated fingers and a serious head injury. The fall also triggered some heart problems.
Those troubles are mostly under control, but longtime best friend Randy Elmore said Sherman still has a long recovery ahead. For days Sherman seemed confused as he rested in his hospital bed, answering most questions with a monotone "sure."
Since then he's shown some flashes of his old self. He was still in the cardiac unit at St. Joseph hospital as of this week, wearing an eye patch to deal with his double vision. He'll need to undergo speech therapy and have stitches removed from wounds all over his body.
"He's a rainbow of colors right now," Elmore said. "But he's strong as an ox and a really resilient human being."
Sherman, 64, has lived in the Bellingham area for decades. Before he started his own business, Brite Way Window Service, he earned a teaching degree at Western Washington University and taught sixth grade in the Meridian School District.
He was scrubbing windows on his knees at 2210 Rimland Drive with employee Luke Frontezak - who is not his son, contrary to an earlier report - when he fell through the awning.
Because Sherman is the owner of his business, the Department of Labor & Industries likely does not have jurisdiction to investigate the accident, said spokeswoman Elaine Fischer.
Sherman is married with two sons in their mid-20s. His kids are taking care of the family business while their father is recovering.
Best case scenario, Sherman is months away from working again. His total hospital bill, according to Elmore's best estimate, will easily exceed $100,000. Insurance should take a chunk out of that, but it's still a burden. Much of the bill comes from the four days Sherman spent in the intensive care unit.
People can contribute to "The Bruce Sherman Donation Fund" at any Whatcom Educational Credit Union branch.
Prayers for Sherman, whom Elmore described as "a very strong Christian," are encouraged.
Reach CALEB HUTTON at email@example.com or call 715-2276.