Michael Huchko, a father of seven children with one on the way, worked six or seven days a week to support his family. But Huchko, 36, of McDonald, has been unable to leave his hospital bed since he was severely injured in a work accident in May.
Huchko was clearing trees for a Marcellus Shale well site along Fort Cherry Road when he was crushed by a piece of heavy equipment. His family declined to name the company, but said the investigation is ongoing.
Huchko spent more than a month in the intensive care unit at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and he was recently transferred to a rehabilitation unit at Kindred Hospital in Oakdale, where he is slowly recovering from multiple broken bones and a collapsed lung.
“He’s doing really well, considering it pretty much crushed 95 percent of his body,” said Huchko’s sister, Holly Michlovic.
“He’s lucky to be alive. They didn’t think he was going to make it.”
Michlovic said her brother is just starting to talk and eat again.
She said Huchko has been working since age 9, when the two siblings helped out at their grandparents’ business, Tastee Freez on Route 980.
“He’s a little depressed, a little bummed out,” Michlovic said, “because he knows he was the main support for the family, and that drives him crazy that he can’t do anything. In his eyes, he feels good enough to do something, get out of bed and take care of stuff, but he physically can’t.”
Huchko’s fiancee, Megan Setters, added, “He can’t stand being cooped up.” Setters will be giving birth to their son in less than a month.
Jimmy Cowden, who has been friends with Huchko since grade school at Fort Cherry, described Huchko as a family man.
“He takes care of his kids, and he’s a hard worker,” Cowden said. “That’s all the guy does is work, work, work. He’d give me the shirt off his back. He’s just that kind of guy.”
Huchko’s friends and family hope he will be able to come home by Christmas. To help offset medical expenses, Huchko’s family will be hosting a fundraiser Saturday at Harrington’s bar in McDonald. The event will cost $10 per car, or $25 per motorcycle rider.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with food, live music and a Chinese auction. After that, motorcycle riders can join the benefit run, which will have several local stops along the way.
Michlovic said Huchko loves riding his motorcycle, a Harley Sportster. Aside from his bike, his life is all about working and caring for his children, who are between the ages of 2 and 18, plus a few extra.
“It’s never just Michael and Megan’s kids here,” Michlovic said. “It’s their friends, and there’s always more than just five kids in the house. They invite their friends over, and Michael treats them as if they’re his own. All the kids have been really supportive.”