HVE principal Campbell on way to complete recovery

By Megan R. Harrell
Star Staff

   Just two months after being shot by her estranged husband, local principal Peggy Campbell is doing the best that can be expected. She is beginning to restore a sense normalcy at her home for herself and her two sons.
   Apart from some pain in her arm and hand, Campbell is well on her way to a complete recovery. She attributes her survival to divine intervention. She stated God was with her throughout the terrifying ordeal, Sept. 29 that left her husband, Roger Campbell, and her friend, Jerry Robinette, dead.
   "God is why I am here. When I was shot, blood was coming out my arm like a fountain and I fell down and thought I was going to heaven, but there was not a bit of sadness about me because who would be sad going to heaven," Campbell said. "I laid there for I don't know how long, and I did not go to heaven. So I said to God if he wants me to get out of this He is going to have to help me. He did, because I got up and went to my neighbor's house for help."
   The principal of Happy Valley Elementary School believes God prepared her for survival long before the shooting took place. She began working out last spring. The physical exercise strengthened her heart, and increased her muscle volume, which helped her chances of surviving the potentially fatal wounds.
   Campbell's recovery has been deemed miraculous by members of the medical profession and by others in the community. She has had a number of people voice their amazement with her recovery.
   "I am not a hero. I am just a person that this happened to and I am just trying to deal with it the best I can," Campbell said. "I am just a human being that does truly believe in God."
   Campbell was released from the hospital just eight days after the shooting took place, and has relied on the support of her family and the community. She lived with her brother and sister-in-law for a month after her release from the hospital. She stated that during her stay, meals were brought in almost every night for dinner.
   Campbell has received an outpouring of support from friends, and members of the community she has never met. She stated that it is hard to thank everybody that has helped her because she is still learning of ways the community pitched in to help her family during its time of need.
   "Since this happened Sept. 29 there has only been one day that I have not received a card from someone," Campbell said. "All of these people have helped me, but I hope I never have the opportunity to give that back to them, because that means they will never have to go through this type of situation."
   Back in her home where the shooting took place, Campbell is still relying on the help of others as she cannot drive a car or wash her own hair. Her two sons, Chris and Brandon help Campbell with many of the day-to-day tasks. "I could not do it without them," Campbell said.
   The family is now coping with the reality of their loss by flooding their minds with as many good memories as possible. "Roger Campbell was a wonderful man, he just made some wrong choices that led to this," Campbell said. "I loved him very, very much. He was the best dad. He was my best friend."
   Campbell, who can recall the shooting vividly, admits it is hard at times, but maintains the family is doing well considering the circumstances. "I have never had any nightmares about it. I know exactly what happened, but I am doing okay and the boys are doing okay," Campbell said. "I have good moments and bad moments."
   Campbell admits that she may never understand why the shooting took place, but believes that she may be able to impact others positively down the road. "I do not think that I will have this light come on and say this is why he did it. I think I need to just keep listening to God, and when he does give me opportunity to talk to somebody about it, to take those opportunities," Campbell said.
   The four gunshot wounds Campbell suffered have almost completely healed, but have left her with some pain. She has been diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy in her right arm, which causes paralysis and an extreme burning pain.
   Campbell attends physical therapy two times a week to condition her arm, and hopes to return to work at Happy Valley as soon as possible. "The day this is better, and I do not have excruciating pain where I have to lie down, I will be back to work," Campbell said. "I love what I do."