Logan Cole marks his next steps in his Road to Recovery.
The beginning of a new school year at CedarvilleUniversity is a benchmark for teens moving toward adulthood. The path they travel to begin their college education is unique for each student. But it’s doubtful any will be able to match the life-changing journey of incoming freshman Logan Cole.
He will arrive at Cedarville August 17 carrying more than bags and boxes. Hundreds of shotgun pellets are still in his body. The lead level in his blood sits around 29, seven times the normal range, because the pellets are leaking. Kidney problems, high blood pressure, potential neurological and reproductive problems are the risks.
On January 20, 2017, Cole was the victim of a school shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School, north of Dayton. Suffering a shotgun blast to his chest, Cole convinced the shooter, classmate Ely Serna, to not carry out what could have been a horrific Columbine-style incident at their high school.
In May, Serna was sentenced to 23 ½ years in prison for attempted murder, felonious assault and inducing panic.
“I remember begging him to put the gun down and not kill anyone, including himself,” Cole read in a prepared statement at the sentencing, recounting that day.
Principal Greg Johnson and assistant principal Andy McGill walked into the bathroom shortly after Logan made his plea, and Serna handed his shotgun to them.
Cole has traveled a complicated road to recovery, including multiple surgeries; a 15-day stay at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; fractured vertebrae; broken teeth; prolonged and intense pain; terrifying nightmares; emotional scarring; three months in a neck brace; and innumerable doctors’ office visits.
For parents Julie and Ryan, it’s tough to send another child off to school, even with five more still at home. “With the possibility of losing Logan, you realize not to take things for granted,” said Ryan Cole. “We’ll miss having him around, but we’re thankful that he’s around to do what he’s going to do.”
Cedarville University is an accredited Baptist institution with more than 4,000 undergraduate, graduate, and online students. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, and accredited professional and health science programs. For more information, visit www.cedarville.edu.