Injured Obama campaign worker gets call from candidate

Janet Calvert
Janet Calvert

By Caton Bredar

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- A Louisville woman has been at Jewish Hospital since Saturday, recovering from injuries she suffered while campaigning for Sen. Barak Obama. But the supporter received some moral support of her own, with a special get well phone call. WAVE 3's Caton Bredar visited the woman Thursday at Frazier Rehab.

A first-time political campaigner, Janet Calvert says it was Barak Obama's books, his voice and his message that first inspired her.

"...he really has a vision for our country. So, I thought, after all these years, I should get involved."

She never could have imagined Obama's voice would help her to recover. The Saturday before the Kentucky primary, The Bellarmine University professor was canvassing her neighborhood door to door on behalf of the Senator, when she encountered more than she volunteered for.

"...from inside the house, a huge German Shepherd with teeth bared, came bounding out the door straight at me," she explains. "And he charged. I of course got frightened."

In the process of retreating away from the dog, Calvert stumbled on a second set of stairs. She avoided the dog, but not the pain. Aided by the resident inside the house, Calvert says he offered help, and promised his vote.

"I was bleeding, I was in pain..." Calvert recalls. "He called my husband for me and called an ambulance. Then he started to laugh and said I don't know if this is the time to tell you, but you didn't have to come to me. I was going to vote for Obama anyway."

When her husband, Jim, received the phone call, no one realized the extent of the injuries.

"...had no idea," he says. "Even when we got to the ER at Jewish, we didn't know. We certainly didn't know it was two broken legs and one broken arm."

After surgery Sunday, with the assistance from her husband, Calvert managed to still vote from the hospital.

"She asked if there was any way," Jim explains. "And I followed up with a campaign person."

That contact with the Obama campaign led to an important phone call Monday, while Jim was out running around, trying to turn in his wife's ballot.

"The phone rang, and my friend Karen was screening my phone calls," Calvert says. "The voice said this is Senator Barak Obama."

"He had that rich, baritone voice on the telephone, and my friend ... her eyes got big, because of course she recognized the voice too, recognized that it was Senator Obama."

While the call lasted less than five minutes, Calvert says she was particularly pleased he listened to her, as she recounted why she first responded to his call. He was also appreciative, according to Calvert.

"He was very appreciative of my efforts," she says. "Very sorry for my accident."

Calvert will remain at Frazier Rehab for at least six days, and faces months of rehabilitation and recovery. Still, she hopes one day to be invited to dance at Obama's inaugural ball. Any future campaigning, though, will be limited to phone calls.

"It was one of those freaky accidents, " says Calvert. "I'm still a supporter, and I hope I got to speak to our next president."

Online Reporter:  Caton Bredar

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway