Update from Merlin’s Sister in Law, Phyllis

This is a four generation picture — of Merlin, his mother, Cora Yoder, his daughter, Shari Craig, and his grandson, Brayden.

This is the update that Merlin’s Sister in law, Phyllis Yoder, sent to our family group.

First of all, thank you so much for your love and support.  It is very tangible through your emails, texts, etc.  We can also feel the strength and courage God is blessing us with.  Thanks for your prayers.


We don’t know the exact events of Merlin’s morning.  We know he took a load of beans to the co-op.  He stopped in at Brent Maust’s farm shop and talked to some of his co-workers there.  He then went home and appears to have been oiling the chains on his old combine.  (This is best done with the combine running.)  It was a cold morning and he had on several layers of clothing.  Most likely, his right sleeve got caught and pulled his arm and clothes into the combine, strangling him and jamming the combine.  A farmer going by on the road noticed the combine belts smoking, stopped and called 9-1-1.


One of Cora’s (Merlin’s mother) friends in Pigeon has a police scanner and heard the ambulance dispatched.  She called her son and grandson who live just 1 mile away from Merlin’s and told her that something had happened out in our neck of the woods.  They were curious and went to investigate.  They were second on the scene and helped extricate Merl from the combine.  They also called (his brothers) Dale and Darrel.  The 9-1-1 call came in at 10:40 and Merlin was on the way to the hospital by 11:00.  It was a fast response!


I’m not sure if Merl was breathing on his own when they got him out of the combine.  I assume he wasn’t but I didn’t hear that for sure.  His heart stopped on the way to the Pigeon.  At the hospital, Merlin’s pulse returned but they continued breathing for him.  He was airlifted to Saginaw, arriving there around 11:45.  He is now in the ICU.


His condition is grave.  He is doing some breathing on his own in addition to the ventilator breaths but it isn’t enough to do without the ventilator.  His vitals are all stable.  However, he is not responding to any stimuli and is in a very deep coma.  CT scans have revealed no skull fracture and no bleeding in the brain.  It’s a waiting game to determine the extent of his brain injury from the lack of oxygen.  They have lowered his body temperature to help the brain heal.  They will keep him cool until tomorrow evening and then slowly re-warm him.  Once his body temperature is up, they will do further neurological tests.


Merlin’s right arm is severely injured, needing tissue and skin grafts.  At one point during the day, we thought he was going to be having some surgery to begin repairing that but the plastic surgeon decided to wait until more is known about his brain injury.


We continue to covet your prayers.  Saying “thanks!!!!” doesn’t seem adequate but it will have to do!  Thanks!!!!

Phyllis, on behalf of the Luke/Cora Tribe


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3 responses to “Update from Merlin’s Sister in Law, Phyllis

  1. Also prayed/praying for him. So sad.

  2. Oh My…how asful for him and his family. Praying for all involved. We serve a mighty God.

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