Tragic Accident Doesn't Stop Local Artist's Dream

RENO, Nev. (KRNV & - Reno artist, Jimi Damone's work speaks for itself. Pieces capture fine details in original leather and woodwork; a passion that recently led him to Portland, Oregon.

"I know a few people up there and they took me in with open arms and brought me to the wood shop and taught me how to do some awesome things with new tools I've never seen before," Damone said. "Basically, I became an apprentice."

On Aug. 26, Damone was helping a friend with an art piece using reclaimed wood and a jointer machine.

"With reclaimed wood, it's always twisted and everything so you have to have a level surface and I was putting one piece through the jointer that was very twisted. I kept putting it through and one time, the pinky dropped off edge of the board and barely touched the blade and it grabbed it and sucked my hand in," Damone said.

By the time he pulled back, the damage had been done.

"I lost three fingered completely, down basically to the hand; index and thumb - lost the tip. I lost a lot of movement because of the muscles that were destroyed and the bones that were mangled," Damone said.

Exactly two weeks after the accident, Damone got his first look under the bandages.

"Yesterday, when I got the stitches pulled out it hit me pretty hard because it was the first time I saw it all unwrapped and what I'm going to be dealing with the rest of my life. But, it also gave me motivation because I have a fight I have to conquer - I'm not going to let this one hand beat me," Damone said.

Damone's friends are doing their part, starting several fund raisers to help pay for Damone's uninsured medical bills and months of therapy ahead, so he can focus on getting back into the wood shop.

"For the most part, I hope to progress from where I was. I always want to get better, so I don't want to decrease in my talents. I wouldn't want anyone to give up, ever. It's not what you're supposed to do. Your body has drive and you need to drive it," Damone said.

Sept. 13th, the Reno Public House will host a benefit for Damone beginning at six o'clock complete with a raffle and live music. Aces tattoo shop will offer "Jimi" tattoos all day for $20. Additionally, Freeman's Natural Hotdogs will donate fifty percent of all sales on Friday to the fund.