Lightning strike survivor: I'm born again

July 18, 2012 4:20:14 AM PDT
For the first time, we're hearing from the man who survived being hit by lightning.

He was one of three men who were struck while standing under a tree at a soccer field on Hill Road and the Hardy Toll Road Sunday. The other two men died.

Edelmiro Barrera is an assistant with a soccer club. That's what brought him out to the fields on Sunday. It's part of his routine. But now he's not sure when he'll have the courage to go back there again.

Still wearing his hospital wrist band, Barrera is enjoying the fresh air. He just spent two days inside recovering from what his two friends didn't.

"I have an angel, think I have an angel to take care of me," Barrera said.

The 48-year-old father of two was on the field at the La Escondido Soccer Club Sunday when a storm moved in. Most people ran to the pavilion. Barrera and two others took cover under a tree and lightning struck.

"I don't know what happened, heard something boom. I don't hear anything, don't remember anything, I don't know what happened," he said.

When Barrera woke up in the hospital, he didn't know why he was injured.

"I can't feel my legs, my chest, my back, my arms, I can't feel nothing," he said.

And didn't know his two friends -- 26-year-old Jose Romero and 27-year-old Angel Delgado -- had also been struck by lightning and died.

"I said what, I couldn't believe it. I am alive thanks to God, I'm born again, born again," Barrera said.

Barrera says he now plans turn his injury into something positive -- using it to teach others.

"Remember when it's raining, don't go behind the trees," he said.

And finding why he got a second chance.

"I think my life is going to change now. I think in God, I believe in God. I go every Sunday to church. Thanks you God, I live," Barrera said.

Barrera is now among the 99 people who've been struck by lightning this year and have survived. He said he still has pain but is expected to fully recover.

A fundraiser to help cover the funeral costs for the other lightning victims has been scheduled 8am to 8pm Sunday at the La Escondido Soccer Club.

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