Growing up on a dairy farm in rural Minnesota taught me many things, but most importantly courage, confidence, and passion. I spent 17 years as a “normal” active kid learning how to live life with no barriers. My parents inspired confidence in me every day by encouraging me to try new things and to get involved with life. May 25, 1996 my world ricocheted out of control when I was involved in a one car accident leaving me paralyzed from the waist down.
My brothers were volunteer firemen at the time of this accident and the first to respond to the scene. When they saw my friends by the car they knew I was in trouble because my friends and I were inseparable at this point in our lives. They arrived at the vehicle and I greeted them with a smile that read, “I am alive, but please get me out this car.” I was rescued quickly, transported to the local hospital, and then flown by helicopter to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN where I learned about my burst fracture of the T12/L1 vertebras. After eight hours of surgery, 5 days in ICU, and 35 days in rehab I finally made it home to the family farm.
The overwhelming support and encouragement I received motivated me to overcome the obstacles that had been put “under” me. Nothing was going to get in my way of finishing school, going to college, and finding a career. I completed my high school years and moved on to Rochester Community and Technical College, and after four years I graduated from Winona State University with a bachelors in Social Work.
While searching for the perfect Social Work position, I found Rochester Area Disabled Athletics and Recreation (R.A.D.A.R). It was a small non-profit that catered to people with a variety of disabilities who wanted to be active. I worked as a program coordinator for this organization until I found my current position with Cabela’s Inc. Cabela’s is the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear. I am in heaven every day I go to work because the family I work with shows me passion, the company shows confidence in its outfitters’ abilities, not their disability, and provides me daily courage to overcome any obstacle in my way.
As for my outdoor recreational activities, I travel to Minnesota every November to participate in the annual deer hunt at the Noble farm. I have shot in a trap league for the last few years and finally became a registered trap shooter this past year. I work on shooting skills every week at the Rapid City Trap Club. Lastly, I always enjoy camping, fishing, and turkey hunting any chance I get.
This is how I roll!!