WAUKESHA, Wis. — Waukesha County Supervisor Bill Mitchell was marching in this year's Christmas parade with the Catholic Community of Waukesha when a man drove his car through the parade, injuring dozens and killing six people.
"I was told I flew over the car. I don't remember that sensation. But I was awake on the ground the whole time," Mitchell said of what he remembers from that night.
Also prominent in his memory are the people that immediately came to his aid.
"The good Samaritans that came out to help me, to put pressure on my wounds and to keep me talking to make sure i was still awake when the first responders got there," he said.
Mitchell ended up with eight broken ribs, a broken hand and face wounds that required stitches. All things considered, he's in pretty good spirits four weeks into his recovery.
"When the doctor was putting the stitches in I said, 'it's probably the end of my modeling career right?' and he said, 'well you could be a hand model, oh no probably not,'" Mitchell recalled with a chuckle and smile on his face.
He said his high spirits come from all the support and love he's gotten from friends, family and the greater community. In the weeks following the parade tragedy neighbors helped him with yard work and ran errands for his family.
"People are still sending cards and well wishes and thoughts and prayers. It's just amazing the support you have out there," Mitchell said. "It's an incredible feeling to know we have that kind of community."
And on Tuesday night, just a little more than a month after the parade, Mitchell was back serving the community he loves during the first county board since the tragedy.
He opened the meeting thanking his fellow supervisors and county employees for all of their support as he recovers, saying, "I'm very proud to be part of this family and to have so many caring people around. It really does my heart good and I hope that makes you feel better, because you know you're a part of this. So thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Mitchell said the broken ribs still cause him pain and are a constant reminder, but not even that will stop him from serving his community. But for now, he said he's just looking forward to spending Christmas with his family.
"It gives you a new sense of appreciation for stuff and I very much will appreciate this Christmas."
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