Close to six months after he was brutally attacked with a machete in downtown Courtenay, 89-year-old Bob Plumb’s life has changed forever.
“He lost the sight in his eye, he lost his driver’s licence, he can’t drive a scooter,” said stepdaughter Dianne Ball. “So he has to depend on other people.”
He used to enjoy driving and loved to garden and cook, but none of that is possible anymore. Part of the problem is that he is struggling with the change in perception from being able to use only one eye.
The attack on Plumb happened about 4:15 a.m. July 31 when he was sitting in his vehicle on Fifth Street in Courtenay, while delivering the Times Colonist. He was helping Ball with her route, something he had done for years.
A man on a bicycle approached and asked Plumb for a cigarette, then attacked him when he said he didn’t have one. Plumb was slashed in the face and his hand was injured when he grabbed at the machete in an attempt to defend himself.
He somehow managed to drive himself to the Comox Valley RCMP detachment to report the incident.
Ball said Plumb now has limited use of his right hand because tendons were cut.
“He doesn’t have any strength for opening jars and stuff like that.”
Writing is out of the question, as well.
Plumb is living at home and being helped by care providers, along with family and “all kinds of people” who want to lend a hand, Ball said. “We’re there cleaning once a week or once every couple of weeks, and we take him out shopping.”
An assisted-living facility would be the next step, said Ball, adding members of the community who found the attack upsetting continue to support Plumb.
“He goes to places and he gets free dinner and free lunches,” Ball said. “Everywhere he goes, it seems, they’re always giving him something.”
A GoFundMe page set up for Plumb by step-granddaughter Janelle Karatsikis generated more than $31,000 — well beyond the $10,000 goal. Ball said the money was used to buy Plumb a lift chair, as well as a new TV and cable and the Internet, which he didn’t have.
The funds will also help pay for him to go into assisted living when the time comes, she said.
No one has been arrested in the case. Police efforts included going through hundreds of hours of surveillance footage provided by about 200 businesses from the day of the assault.