An Athens County man who was hit by a car that drove into a crowd of protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia says he’ll be back to marching as soon as he can.
Bill Burke is recovering at home after sustaining serious head injuries, along with leg and arm abrasions, when James Alex Fields, Jr. drove a car into a crowd protesting the presence of white nationalists in Charlottesville.
Burke’s wife, Annie Jeffers Burke, said his wounds are beginning to heal, and he’s starting to walk better, but he is still trying to remember everything that happened that day.
Burke said he came to Charlottesville after a colleague at a conference told him how scared she was of white nationalists coming to her town.
Once that rally was shut down, Burke says they took to the streets.
“We could see them in pick-up trucks, and just marching down the street,” Burke says.
He was injured along with 18 others. But the lone fatality from that day, Heather Heyer, was next to Burke during the attack.
Annie Jeffers Burke said in one of the hospital phone calls she had with her husband that day, he told her about the woman lying next to him in the hospital, receiving compressions.
“He started telling me about the woman next to him getting CPR, and he wasn’t sure if she was going to make it. We found out later she didn’t make it.”
For his part, Bill Burke said recovery is hard, but his will to get back to the fight is strong. If anything, he says, what happened in Charlottesville and President Donald Trump’s response to it have made him more determined.
“It woke me up to how much racism there is, and bigotry and all that,” Burke says.