Former Citizen of Year injured

Tractor accident puts Tom Schaafsma in Seattle hospital with chest trauma

Sequim Gazette staff

Dedicated volunteer, businessman and family man Tom Schaafsma, 64, is recovering in Seattle from injuries sustained in a tractor accident Oct. 12 behind his Sequim home.


Schaafsma, the 2009 Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, was pulling out a tree with his son Ryan when the tractor flipped up and over onto him.


Clallam County Fire District 3 reports Ryan called 9-1-1 and used a winch on a truck to move the tractor. He began CPR and fire crews arrived about seven minutes later from the call.


Jacque Schaafsma, Tom’s wife, said he was without oxygen for at least 10 minutes. Schaafsma had a weak pulse and was put on full life support for chest trauma, the fire district reports. He was later taken by helicopter airlift to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Schaafsma sustained 10 broken ribs and two partially collapsed lungs but no internal injuries.


Jacque said doctors inserted two chest tubes to help Tom with breathing but the first one was removed a few days ago and the second was being readied for removal on Tuesday.


Harborview Medical Center reports he’s been upgraded from critical condition to serious condition as of Tuesday morning.


“Over the night he became much more aware of his surroundings,” Jacque said. “He’s very affectionate and wanting us to hold his hand. He’s so grateful to have us all here. He has a smile on his face and using humor.”


Schaafsma doesn’t remember the incident, but he’s beginning to see more clarity, Jacque said.


Currently, doctors are working on his pain management and asking him questions to assess him for physical therapy.


“We know there’s some issues but we don’t know whether short term or long term,” Jacque said.


“The fact that he’s given us so much right now is good.”  


Schaasfma’s impact in Sequim goes deep. He stayed active with multiple local and worldwide groups and projects, including ShelterBox USA Response Team, Sequim Sunrise Rotary, Rotary Exchange, Olympic Theatre Arts, Snap (now called Mosaic), Sequim Food Bank and many more.


Jacque said she and her four children are at the hospital with him and updating a blog about her husband’s progress at