'Miss my wife every day:' Sole survivor speaks out 5 months after tree fell onto SUV

RACINE COUNTY -- Five months after a freak accident that took his wife's life, Bill Martin, the lone survivor, shared with FOX6 News on Tuesday, March 19 how he'll move forward.

Martin, 51, received injuries to his spinal cord, brain and limbs after a tree fell onto their car Oct. 20, 2018. Doctors told him he'd never walk again, but he's determined to prove them wrong.

"I want to walk again," said Martin. "I want to walk my dog, run with my dog, grand-kids, too."

Bill Martin

Bill Martin

Martin said the support from the community, including his math students at Horlick High School, has meant the world, in light of a terrible tragedy.

"You just don't know how many people you touch until something like this goes on," said Martin.

Tree fell onto vehicle, killing Michelle Martin in October

On Oct. 20, Martin and his wife, Michelle, were driving when a tree fell on top of their SUV on 4 Mile Road in Franksville. That's where Michelle Martin took her last breath.

"Miss my wife every day.  I have to figure out why I'm still here," said Martin.

Michelle and Bill Martin

FOX6 News spoke with Martin Tuesday at a rehabilitation center, five months after the accident.

"I don't think that's an option, to sit back and do nothing, or just be bitter about it. You're only given one life," said Martin.

Martin has been in rehab in Waterford since the accident. He plans to move to another facility in April, but hopes to eventually move back home.

Bill and Michelle Martin

"My right leg moves quite easily. My left leg, with a little encouragement," said Martin.

His encouragement from his students comes from a brightly colored penguin that now sits in his room. In class, Martin told his students to persevere like a penguin; when faced with a big wave, to get back up and try again.

Bill Martin

"So what do they do with this penguin? They give it back to me," said Martin. "Something you don't see coming is going to wipe you out, and you gotta persevere."

Part of moving forward for Martin is thanking all of the people who have helped him, including first responders, medical staff, the community and his family.

"I know that you need grieve. I know that you need to cry, and I know that you have to move on," said Martin.

As Martin remains bound to a wheelchair, he's determined to walk again, honoring his wife who meant so much to him. He remains focused on that while trying to raise money for his continued care.

Martin said Tuesday his next goal is walking and being able to make ends meet -- with all of his medical expenses.

You can help at a fundraiser in April or CLICK HERE to learn more about donating right now.