Community helps sculptor after wife dies by lightning strike

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (WDTN) — Only a day removed from returning home to Yellow Springs, Justin Teilhet has been given support by the community, and artists from across the country after his wife died due to a lightning strike.

“We’re a family, and the outpouring that I have gotten from every corner of the country has kept me afloat,” Justin said.

It happened on Friday night, when a lightning bolt struck him and his wife while hiking on the Ute Crossing Trail in Colorado.

Justin sustained a burn on his shoulder and a cut on his face, which would knock him to the ground unconscious.

“I don’t remember any smoke or any noise,” he added, “I just remember walking briskly in the rain trying to get back, being cold, and not being able to stand up.”

Becky died as a result of the lightning strike several hundred yards away from their car.

While Justin’s injuries will heal, he’ll soon continue his passion for sculpting. It’s a passion that Becky allowed him to pursue fully.

“Without Becky, I’d be in the gutter no question,” Justin said.

His son was in Wisconsin at an art show when the accident occurred. Two of Justin’s friends in the art community offered to drive his son down to Yellow Springs.

“From my hospital bed, with a board on my back and a piece of plastic around my neck and I was able to find 2 people that I consider my close family.”

As for his work–Justin says his art family has filled a void left from that bolt of lightning.

“When I’m able to go back to the studio, I will be working to make sure that all that she has done to support my son and I will not be in vain.”

He says he’ll continue his passion for sculpting–a legacy that will be left in every piece he works on, just for Becky.

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