Then there is the bad stuff . . . the rule of three applies here, too.
In this past month, our ward (the local LDS church congregation) suffered the loss of three of our members. One person was quite elderly, lived a good long life, and was suffering from health issues. Another was a chronically ill man who had suffered quite extensively in his final years. The third was a dear friend to all who knew him, who died suddenly and tragically in a motocycle accident.
What do you do, how can you feel, when the fourth bad thing happens . . . ?
Is it an upset of the normal order of things, or is it the first of a new set of 3's?
I think it is time to pray for miracles . . .
Monday we received word that a good friend of my son, Chad, and one of the missionaries from our ward, Elder Zerin Petersen, had been injured in what anyone would describe as a freak accident. A split second action, without time to think of the consequences, and a young man's path was changed from missionary service, to being the recipient of an outpouring of love and service. This vibrant young man, neck broken, spinal cord injured, is now lying in a hospital bed. Our faith and love and prayers hold the hope that he will recover from this injury.
Our stake, (the regional LDS congregations made up of a groups of wards) and the two stakes that are in the Colorado Springs Mission boundaries, will be fasting in his behalf this Sunday.
There are a few amazing details to this story:
This young man is the son of the Boy Scouts of America executive in our area. As you would expect, he was raised to enjoy the Scouting program and all it has to offer. He is an Eagle Scout, with all of his Palms earned, and has taken many First Aid courses along the way. He was also trained and taught as a Lifeguard at Scout Camp, and taught others to be lifeguards as well.
As soon as he landed on his neck he tried to get up. He immediately collapsed and realized that he had a spinal cord injury. Would he have known that without the training that he had received? Likely he would have not.
He called out to the other missionaries that were present and rushing to his aid and said "I have a spinal injury. Don't touch me!" Clear thinking by this amazing young man likely saved his life and himself from further injury.
My husband, upon receiving a call about the accident, rushed out to the Boy Scout camp where his parents, Chris and Mari-Beth Petersen, and his brother, Javan, work during the summer, to deliver the horrifying news. With a heavy heart he told the shocked parents the information he had been given. Elder Petersen's parents, rushed home, packed, and flew out to Denver early the next morning.
A little information about this young man's parents. Chris Petersen, works as the regional executive of the Boy Scouts of America in our area. There are young men throughout the Northwest and and the state of Alaska that have, with the support of his wife, Mari-Beth, been affected by the work that he does. Chris has touched the lives of literally thousands of young men and helped them grow into knowledgeable, hardworking, and productive young men. He works long hours during nine months of the year, and in the summers he lives, in a small, dusty cabin at Boy Scout camp, and directs the activities that occur there. As his children have grown, they and his wife have joined him to work there during the summers as well. He is also known as "Abe", and if you have ever met him, you would know exactly why.
The members, missionaries, and the mission Presidency of the Colorado Springs mission and the Denver area have pulled together to coordinate housing, transportation, and everything else that the Petersen's might be in need of during their stay. This may seem a miracle in itself, but to members of the Church and the people that care about the Petersen's and the LDS missionaries, this is the way we look after and take care of each other. We are blessed to be a part of a loving ward family, and members of a church that considers one another to be brothers and sisters; literally, a family.
Another amazing detail - the Denver/Colorado Springs area is home of the Swedish Medical Center, a Level One trauma center and ranks among the top Neuroscience programs. It is also designated as a Neuroscience Center of Excellence (COE). Adjacent to the hospital is the Craig Hospital, which is an internationally known leader of spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation. One of the world's best neurosurgeons operated on Elder Petersen. There is no better place for him to be in the country, and quite possibly in the world, for him to be to get the care that he now needs.
His recovery will take some time. At this point he can move very little, and has only some sensation in his hands. There has been trama to his spinal cord, and the swelling to the spinal cord from the injury and the surgery to repair the vertibrae (C4) is the most critical factor right now. Four to five months has been mentioned for his stay in Colorado for physical therapy.
There has been an outpouring of people wanting to help. Their home needs some work that they have not had the time or money to do, and modifications will likely be needed to made their home wheelchair accessible.