Everybody in the Heartland has a Story: Carter Day - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Everybody in the Heartland has a Story: Carter Day

NAYLOR, MO (KFVS) -

Carter Day literally rode into Naylor back in 1956. His family had lived in Doniphan, but when his dad took a new job, well, the horses had to get to Naylor somehow.

That's when Carter's Naylor story began.

He graduated from high school, met a girl and married, as many kids did those days.

His wife Sandra was soon pregnant with their first child. The young couple was excited to get their family started. Sadly, the little girl lived only six hours. Fluid was in her lungs. They named her Sonia Marie before they buried her.

Soon, the Days moved to St. Louis and started a new life there.

Carter was looking for work and got hired as a roofer.

It turned out to be a lifetime career for him until when, at age 48, a crane operator knocked him off a roof to a bed of concrete, 25 feet below.

"I remember falling. I remember getting up, but I couldn't stay up," recalls Carter. "I was pretty messed up. I had broken a bunch of bones and bruised my body really bad."

Fourteen months of therapy had Carter back on his feet, but never would he go back on a roof to work.

At age 49, he had to retire.

"I lost 58 percent use of my right arm. I couldn't roof anymore," he says.

Meanwhile, the family grew. They added two boys and a girl they named Denise.

The Days would live and raise their family in St. Louis for years until tragedy brought them back to southeast Missouri.

A knock on their door in 1994 brought horrible news.

Their daughter Denise, who was seven months pregnant, and granddaughter Sonia Marie, had been in a terrible car accident.

"A man came over the hill and was in her lane. He plowed right into her," remembers Carter.

Denise and her unborn child died at the scene, but Sonia Marie survived. Sandra and Carter would help raise the little girl after the moved back to Naylor.

"They'll tell you it gets better with time," says Carter about losing Denise, "But it doesn't and I guess you don't want it to because you need those memories so you don't forget."

Driving around Naylor, it's obvious the town has taken its share of punches.

Carter recalls a time when Naylor had twice as many houses and many businesses. Today, it boasts a new library and lots of wide open spaces.

Life has dealt Naylor a few harsh blows, Carter can relate. He's broken nearly every bone in his body and had his heart broken twice, but he's gotten back up.

You can't keep a good man down, Carter is living proof.

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