Manitoba

Lawyer Maria Mitousis eager to get back to work nearly 1 year after mail bomb blast

The survivor of a mail bomb blast last summer is hopeful she will be able to return to work soon after almost a year of treatment and rehabilitation.

Lawyer who lost hand in blast praises $13K boost to firefighters burn fund charity

Lawyer Maria Mitousis eager to get back to work nearly 1 year after mail bomb blast

Manitoba

5 years ago
1:42
The survivor of a mail bomb blast last summer is hopeful she will be able to return to work soon after almost a year of treatment and rehabilitation. 1:42

The survivor of a mail bomb blast last summer is hopeful she will be able to return to work soon after almost a year of treatment and rehabilitation.

"Really eager to get back to normal," lawyer Maria Mitousis said. "Big picture, I don't think my outlook has changed."

Mitousis lost a hand, seriously injured the other and suffered burns after a package shipped through the mail exploded in her hands in July 2015.

At an announcement at Winnipeg City Hall Friday, Mitousis praised the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce for donating $10,000 to the Manitoba Firefighters Burn Fund. Local philanthropist Albert El Tassi contributed an additional $3,000.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman (from left), chamber of commerce chair Priti Mehta-Shah, lawyer Maria Mitousis, philanthropist Albert El Tassie and Manitoba Firefighters Burn Fund executive director Martin Johnson met at city hall on Friday. The chamber of commerce and El Tassie have donated a combined $13,000 to the burn fund. (CBC)

Mayor Brian Bowman reached out to Mitousis following the chamber's 2016 State of the City Address to ask her which organization she thought deserved the money.

Mitousis said her recovery over the past year has been tough, and she's especially grateful for the rehabilitation services she received through the Manitoba Firefighters Burn Fund. 

"First hand, I got to see the work the fund supports," Mitousis said. 

Maria Mitousis explains why the donation to the Manitoba Firefighters Burn Fund is so important

CBC News: Winnipeg at 6:00

5 years ago
1:24
The survivor of a mail bomb blast last summer says the city and Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce made the right move in donating to a charity that helps burn victims cope with their injuries. 1:24

"That was tremendous, because the care that I received was top notch, and I don't think it would've been possible to have that kind of care without the support of the burn fund."

'Definitely making progress'

Mitousis was working at the Petersen King law office at 252 River Ave. on July 3, 2015, when the bomb went off. The injuries to her neck, face, chest and thighs have healed after months of therapy, and her frequent trips to the hospital for treatment have tapered off.

"Definitely making progress," a smiling Mitousis said at city hall Friday. "Don't have to do that anymore."

Two more bombs were sent through the mail last July — one to another Winnipeg law office, the other to an auto-repair workshop. Both were intercepted and detonated by police bomb units in the days following the explosion that injured Mitousis. No one else was inured.

Guido Amsel was arrested in connection with the bombs but has maintained his innocence throughout.

Amsel faces five counts of attempted murder plus other charges, including: using explosives with intent to cause bodily harm, possession of an explosive substance, possession of a weapon for dangerous purpose and mischief over $5,000. The case is currently before the courts.

Mitousis previously represented Amsel's ex-wife during their separation proceedings.

One of the three mail bombs was addressed to Amsel's ex-wife and sent to Olli Ehrmantraut's auto repair where she worked.

Mitousis maintained a low profile after the explosion, but it wasn't long before she publicly stated she remains undeterred from the traumatic experience and plans to continue practising family law.

As a lawyer in the family justice system, getting back to "normal" for Mitousis involves dealing with volatile, emotionally charged family disputes.

"It's challenging work, but that's I think what draws a lot of people to it," she said. "It is a very real reminder in terms of being involved and sometimes what that means and how you don't expect that you'll be involved."

Mitousis added that she doesn't think her capacity to stay strong in the aftermath of the bombing is a quality unique to her.

"Lots of people say to me, 'I don't know that I would be able to be as positive as you are in the situation.' But I am convinced that people do have that strength and you don't know that you until you are faced with a situation. You surprise yourself."

Donations to the Manitoba Firefighters Burn Fund can be made online.

Mitousis and others share their stories

Mitousis and others shared their stories as part of Emergency Medical Services week.

Katharina Froese shares her story

Manitoba

5 years ago
2:41
Katharina Froese shares her story 2:41

Maria Mitousis shares her story

Manitoba

5 years ago
6:16
Mitousis is sharing her story for Emergency Medical Services week 6:16

Logan Quatember shares his story

Manitoba

5 years ago
3:36
Quatember is sharing his story for Emergency Medical Services week 3:36

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