Walking Through Adversity Together

Motorcycle crash survivor says his wife and his faith got him walking again
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Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 7:51 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Randy and Viki Hydrick exchanged their wedding vows in August of 2020.

They began a new life together, filled with new possibilities. The road ahead was wide open.”You marry your best friend, you can’t have nothin’ better,” said Randy seated alongside his wife Viki on their porch in Prosperity. But just weeks after they said, “I do”, their road ahead hit a detour that neither of them could have ever imagined.

Just 9 weeks after their nuptials, Randy was driving 85 mph on his motorcycle, when traffic ahead came to a sudden standstill on I-26 near Little Mountain. He couldn’t stop in time.

“In order for him to not hit the car, he had to veer off and he laid his bike down in the median. That spun him because he was going rather fast,” Viki explained.

Hydrick suffered a severe head wound and traumatic brain injury. Paramedics rushed him to Prisma Health Richland Hospital. With his life hanging in the balance, doctors performed emergency surgery on his skull and his brain. Vicki said the initial prognosis was grim. “After the surgery, the doctor came and told me that’s usually the point of no return, and that the next 72 hours were going to be really critical.

But you know, he had hopes and he had prayed also, so that gave me a lot of comfort.”And yet Viki’s worst fears lingered.”As severe as his brain injury was, I didn’t know if he’d even know who I was. Was he going to remember anything?”

Doctors removed a portion of Randy’s skull temporarily and warned Viki that her new husband might face the possibility of paralysis.

Yet in those trying hours and days after the crash, Randy says there was something more at play.”The day they were about to write me off, God said ‘Nope. I got things for this guy to do.’”

Randy describes what the surgeon told him after he regained consciousness.

“We thought that was it for you,” Randy said, recalling the surgeon’s words. “You’ve either got a big ‘ol God or we’ve got some really good surgeons. God has definitely got a plan for you, man.”Through months of therapy and the constant support of his new wife and his faith community, Randy began the longest climb of his life.”Little by little he’s come back to life,” said Viki.

She shared photos that showed Randy’s journey to regain mobility. He was confined to a wheelchair for a time, but through physical therapy in Newberry, he began to make strides. Eventually, he was able to stand and use a walker. Slowly, he began to take his first steps. Now nearly 3 years after the crash- if you walk into Boland’s Ace Hardware in Chapin, you’ll find Randy seated at the help desk, offering a helping hand to customers.

Once Randy regained some mobility, the owners at Boland’s offered Randy a part time job to help him get back on his feet. The staff treats him like family. “Everybody in our community and our church really just went overboard helping us,” Viki explained. “We moved into this house, and they did fundraisers for us and that enabled me to be a caregiver for him for the first year. God has just put everything in place and it’s really a blessing in how its all worked out.”

Randy says the crash and his remarkable recovery has made him a known commodity around Chapin and Prosperity.

“We couldn’t go out to eat or anything. They’d say, ‘You’re that guy who crashed on I-26 but we’ve been praying for you for so long. Aren’t you that guy?’ And I’d say, ‘Yes I’m that guy.’”Still, despite the miracle, and despite the progress, the trauma of the crash persists.”The mental part has been way more than i thought it would b,” Randy admits. “I used to stay out here on the porch and just cry.”

“One day you had all these dreams and hopes of doing this and that, and the next you say, ‘Here I am. I can’t walk,’ and I’d just start cryin’.’”While grief still sometimes pulls Randy down, his faith and his wife won’t let him stay there.”She’d walk out here and say- ‘You’re so blessed to be alive! What you sad about? You could be dead! But you’ve got a hope- you’ve got a future.’”

Viki is a minister at Lowell Street United Methodist Church in Greenwood.Randy sees his bride as God’s gift: a partner to walk though this deep valley; a reminder that he doesn’t walk alone.”I’ve been blessed. God knew how screwed up I’d be, and He put her in my life. I was gonna need someone real strong to put up with me and help me and she’s done that.”In life and in marriage- there are no guarantees.

It’s something this couple knows firsthand.

“Thats something you need to think about,” Viki admits. “Are you marrying because you really truly love someone? Because people have asked that question before. ‘If they end up paralyzed or something, would you stick with them?’ No matter what, we’ve stuck it out.”

Clearly, this is a couple committed to walk through adversity together. These days the grief is slowly being replaced with gratitude.

Hands Randy couldn’t lift after the crash are now lifted in praise.

“One Sunday -- after church a lady was tearing up talking to me,” Randy explained. “She said, ‘Randy, I can’t believe after all you’ve been though you’re praising God on the front row again. It’s so awesome to see that.’”

I said, ‘It’s so awesome to DO that.’”These days, Randy and Viki are hanging on to hope. Choosing to walk this path with God’s help together.

“Like the thing says HOPE- Hold On Pain Ends. You just cling to good people and family and friends,” Randy said.

Viki just smiles and reaches for Randy’s hand.”We’ve made it through all the vows,” she says proudly.

“Sickness and health. Rich and poor, the whole thing,”

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