Reunion of a Lifetime…

03-17-14 – Exactly eight months ago… my how time has dragged, yet flown. Monday morning I hopped a plane and headed to Minnesota. I didn’t post about this in advance and the reason for my visit is why. I did reach out to a few folks and was able to get together with my first responders for dinner after my day long travels.

I had some issues finding a hotel nearby and one of first responders, Jamie, offered me a room. After two delayed flights and Enterprise car rental’s runaway, I was finally able to head towards Shafer about 4:15 pm. By this time I was already rather stiff and tired.

When I made it to Jamie’s she came outside to greet me. The smile on her face was priceless. It was like she really believed I was ok. It was a great smile and a wonderful hug. I suppose had it not been for the frigid Minnesota temperatures, we have stood there a while. When I entered she took me down to the room I would stay in. I set down my belongings and all the while we played catch up. She asked me several questions about my situation and she shared some information about my crash. We had only about an hour to freshen up before heading to the Shafer Saloon for dinner.

I went upstairs to meet her fiance Justin and lil Miss. McKinley. We yapped for quite a long time and then Jamie and I powdered the face and puffed the hair and off we went. The Shafer Saloon is a pizza and grill just in town, only a few miles down the road. When I walked in Ed Kubicki was front and center at the door and this time, the hugs squeezed the tears out of me. It was ever so surreal to his face again, in person, and not under distress. As if that didn’t kick me off, Ed took my hand and led me just a few feet where David Thorsten stood all 6’3″ to hug me. Oh, even more tears flowed. It was a wonderful reunion and I got the chance to meet a boat load of other responders that were on scene. WHOA… there were a LOT of people on scene and I learned that they were there for many many hours with accident scene management such as blocking traffic for the helicopter, keeping it blocked for the police recreation and investigation, and all the stuff in between.

I learned a great many new details that were hazy or forgotten. But the thing that I didn’t remember and the thing that impressed me considerably was that Ed’s 15 yo son Eddie was with him that day they received the call for my crash. Young Eddie was the one that held my head still and was with me just as long as all the big boys and girls. He saw more things that day than any 15 yo should see, yet he stood tall and became part of a life saving team. I knew this past weekend that David received an award from his efforts at my crash but I also learned that young Eddie and Jamie also received awards.

Mary and Jennifer were formerly part of the Wild Cougars MC; the lady biker club that came to visit me in the hospital. They came out to Shafer Saloon to see me as well as Ron from ABATE that also came to visit me in the hospital. There was a great deal of laughter, story sharing, hugging, and pictures. The night wore on to 9:00 pm and I was tired. As much as I wish I could’ve stayed and learned more about these wonderful people, I really had a long day and I have learned the hard way that pushing it, isn’t always worth it. I bid good-night and shared hugs once again. We made heartfelt commitments to get together again when I return, hopefully in July for a longer visit.

Ed And Jamie

Ed And Jamie

Most of the medical responders on scene

Most of the medical responders on scene

Catching Up

Catching Up

Mary and Jen

Mary and Jen

*Note: Young Eddie is now 16 and says he is going to go full force into becoming a paramedic. Wishing that young man a bright bright future.

Jamie and I sat in the driveway of her home just yapping away for quite a bit. We made our way inside and Jamie visited with me a while in the room where I was staying downstairs. I just had to get my leg off and being not shy and with a lady that already seen everything in the worst way, I just changed into my jammies. She checked out my leg and recalled that where the skin graft is, “yep, that’s where the bone was sticking out”. It was a strangely wonderful night. So many thoughts, it’s just hard to explain…

03-18-14 – I had to wake up at 7:30 am to prepare to attend the court hearing for Anthony, the young man who hit me. Yes, this was the reason for my visit. I had received notice just the week prior stating he was being charged with reckless operation of a vehicle. When I arrived at the victim’s advocate office the representative in charge of my case walked me to court and told me possible outcomes, how much she appreciated my statement, and how things would likely go. When we walked into the court room we sat in the back most row of seats. A young man turned to see us walk in and when we caught eyes it was as if I lost my air for a moment. Anthony approached me with a hard squeeze, he sat down next me, and we talked a bit about how each of us were doing.

The district attorney addressed the chargees and they all went to the hall for their paperwork before returning to begin court. I stayed seated and the victim’s advocate returned to tell me that Anthony was pleading guilty and she told me what the district attorney was proposing. I felt as if the sentence was enough of a hassle and pain that it would not be taken lightly. I felt as if the initial fine was low, but the state gets that so I didn’t really care that much. The chargees returned to the court room one by one and Anthony sat again next me in the back row. In the ditch, scared and alone I reached for this young man’s hand. On this day, scared and alone, he reached for mine. All in all, the sentence was achievable for this young man without making it so hard that he would give up on life or hate the world. Now I have to prepare a restitution statement and this is where I get to impose my wishes for what he has to pay me over the next year. His 90 days of jail time was stayed for one year probation and his community service will have to start soon.

Since Anthony plead guilty, the district attorney had to present a factual case. In short, he asked Anthony many questions regarding his actions, decision to pass, and such like that. He asked him if he agreed that his decision was the wrong one and so on. I learned during this process that a detailed scene recreation took place. One piece of information determined that the car was passing that semi at a speed of between 70-80 mph. My stomach instantly cringed; how the hell did I survive that? I know that I was doing 55-60 when I saw the semi and approached the curve. I typically slow a little in a blind curve so maybe I was doing 50-55 by the time of impact. So really, how??? HOW???

I was able to make a statement to the court regarding that day and what I wanted out of this process. It was a little hard to get through the statement although I just had to read what I previously wrote. It worked itself out and Anthony was sentenced as indicated. The judge said he was impressed with my statement and thanked me. He addressed Anthony and asked him if he realized how fortunate he was and Anthony said yes. The judge commended Anthony for his actions on the day of the crash but still gave him a stern lip about making the wrong decision.

Anthony completed some paperwork and I asked him if he had time to visit a bit. He had the day off due to court so we went to a local place for lunch. I got to hear about his job and restarting school. I learned about his Mom’s riding and his sister’s cool endeavors over seas working with endangered horses. Anthony got to learn a lot about what I went through and what I still go through. I shared a few stories of my son and I as well as stories about being on the road and my future adventures. Following lunch I told him I wanted to go to the crash site and would he guide me there. We went there and Anthony snapped this picture for me. At first we passed the site because we were talking and all the curves look the same. Once we flipped back around and went the way I was traveling that day, we saw that left curve 1 was not it (too many trees – not a pull-in for the cattle field); but curve 2 had just one tree, a pull-in for the cattle field, and that fence… that fence where the cows stood staring at us the whole time.

I didn't remember how pitched this drop off was. WOW! Shocking!

I didn’t remember how pitched this drop off was. WOW! Shocking!

Anthony and I had many different conversations; some serious and some not at all serious. In so many ways, I can see this young man like I see my son. I know that we all make mistakes, some more harmful than others. I know as a mother that if my son had caused this issue for somebody else, I would standby him, do what I could, but I would not allow my son to get away with any kind of crap. I believe in good punishment if it is suitable, but I also believe in love, education, and forgiveness. Anthony did not wake up that morning and say, “Hey, I’m gonna go hit a biker.” We had a pleasant afternoon and though it may have been hard for Anthony on some points, I think this young man has a lot of potential but he still has a way to go in making the decisions that will elevate his life to the next level. We bid our farewells and Anthony held me tight again. He told me thank you for coming to court and that he looks forward to seeing me again in July. His eyes we red and wet when he faced me again. This young man has created a hell of a mess and it has affected him deeply, as it should. I will pray for young Anthony and I hope his dreams of traveling Alaska and climbing in the Rockies will come true; all good things with hard work and self-discipline…

Anthony and The BROAD

Anthony and The BROAD

I took a few minutes on the way back to Jamie’s to stop at Eichen’s a buffalo farm with a market/restaurant and next door an antique shop. I wanted to try to get right next to the this buffalo statue but with the high snow mounds now mostly ice, I was not able to get over the hill so instead I got my rear wet and sat on the mound with my self timer. Inside the market I got some soup to share with Jamie and Justin for dinner and I got an elk and a buffalo meat stick. Oh yum…

Eichen's Buffalo Farm - Shafer, MN

Eichen’s Buffalo Farm – Shafer, MN

Grama's Antique Shop

Grama’s Antique Shop

I came back to Jamie’s to do some work and figure out a plan for the night. She, Justin and I were in the garage and on the way in I caught my fake foot on the step and fell forward. I tried to brace myself by putting my right arm out (bad move). I slammed down on my hand jolting the shoulder out of its socket. Jamie and her husband inspected me. We couldn’t quite figure out how to get it back in place. I have only had to do this laying down. I started to scoot backwards on my butt to get my feet and legs out of the cold garage and to shut the door. In so doing, Justin’s hand against the back of my shoulder and my scooting somehow popped it back into place. It felt sore but was immediate relief of pain. I knew that it was going to bark, so they gave me ice for it and I took a BC powder. All was fine but I was sore and I could feel the shoulder and elbow warming up from the inflammation. Jamie had to go to school and I went downstairs to write this. I sat with the ice on my shoulder and mildly giggled that I had to fall and get hurt here – here of all places – funny but NOT!

Needless to say, I did not make it out to see people this evening and I can tell that the next week or so is going to be achy and sore. I suppose I have gotten around for a long time and doing quite a few activities without face planting, so I suppose the inevitable had to hit me sooner or later. It’ll be ok soon. For now I think it is time for rest as I have another long day of travel back to Georgia. I look very forward to being able to spend more time here in July and seeing ALL these folks again. Just one more home away from home and more brothers and sisters to add to my large loving family.

Firehouse of my Saviors

Firehouse of my Saviors

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42 Responses to Reunion of a Lifetime…

  1. Terry says:

    Wow, first time ready this, tearing up…Definitely could make Anthony’s life much worse, by not forgiving. That really only brings you down, but it is also very hard for many people to do. Wonderful to see you take on his life and side of the story, to be able to move ahead in such a way that both can do so, positively. The dream is not done, by any stretch. It has just been given an entire different perspective as well as opportunity to affect and change the hearts of many people.

    • The BROAD says:

      I agree on all counts Terry. I will follow him and egg him on for as long as we keep in touch. He’s a decent w typical challenges of young people. He’s just learning his potential. Thanks Terry for your support. Hugs,

      A shame we missed each other all that time I was in GA. Maybe next trip around.

  2. Skip says:

    WHOOT WHOOT!!!! MY HERO YOU KEEP ME SMILING. When I’m sitting in the chemo chair I know there is always somebody who has a larger hill to climb. I look forward to watching the 2nd half of your trip. And in order to do that I will beat this Monster πŸ™‚ Peace be with you Miss Broad.

    Skippers

  3. This is great article. You definitely have the gift to write…and also forgive. You’re handling this event in a way that most of us would not. To find forgiveness is…well…it says something extremely special about you. It’s something that I would find almost impossible to do in your situation, but one thing is very true. You always have to keep looking forward. Accidents happen and we have to take responsibility for our actions, good or bad, learn from them and put them in the past, for the road ahead is not just a path to be taken, but a journey to take in everything. You ARE a very special woman.

    • The BROAD says:

      Thank you so much Roman. I have been really angry at Anthony and have cussed him but mostly like I would my son for doing something so very stupid that it screwed up a piece of “his life”. Sure mine too and I hated the disability, the pain, the halt to my dream, but overall I kept thinking of him as “somebody’s young son”. (In fact, read these comments…. His father replied.) being angry too long only burns valuable energy to recover and grow.

      Thanks Roman and I’m so glad you’ve stuck around for the ride.

  4. skippy says:

    lol I meant sitting on your bike. Lol

  5. skippy says:

    Heroes come in all sizes. This one is a short red headed harley rider. Da B.R.O.A.D. my hero.

  6. Chuck Lukas says:

    Ursula, I don’t know how to express my gratitude for what you have done for my son. When I first heard he had been charged and went to court, I was angry that he didn’t tell me, or ask me to be there to support him. After reading “Reunion of a Lifetime,” I knew his experience in court, as well as the rest of the day, was best served without me there. You are an amazing woman, and your actions and behavior attest to the greater good that exists in the human soul. Thank you thank you thank you, from the bottom of my heart! There could not have been a more fitting ending to this chapter in his life…or yours. You are destined for many more fantastic adventures and experiences, and your journey seems to have an added purpose in that you bring “goodness” to the people around you. My most sincere thanks and well-wishes are with you.

    • The BROAD says:

      I appreciate your kind words Chuck. He’s a good kid inside a lot of challenges. My own son is just 1.5 yrs old than Anthony. I suppose I’m a testament to a confused kid, grown into a bitter young adult, only to find peace in life by being a better person. We will all get through this and we really just have to be thankful that it wasn’t any worse. I could be bitter and hateful about this, or I can learn and educate from this. Seems to me there’s only one peaceful choice. Look out for him, be involved and never let him doubt he is loved. Thanks again Chuck.

  7. Thank God and to your rescuers that were there to help you. What an amazing story Annie, God really Blessed you, Amen. Well you know the old saying when you fall off you horse, you got to get back up on it and ride. But God was really with you. I”m very glad of that, because I had the pleasure of meeting you. Hope to see you again someday. God Bless and ride with the Lord.

  8. jimcowan1950 says:

    Hello again Ursula,

    Your posts are always a welcome read for me as I am sure for all your other followers. Did you find a four-leafed clover? I’m sure, after the events that occurred on that curve, there was one there somewhere. I’m also convinced God had a Hand on you as well. Hope you had a great St. Patty’s Day! Just wanted to say that I’ll be buying one or more of your books when it is published… I can share some with biker friends of mine that I know will enjoy reading your story.

    BTW, I am experienced in editing textbooks, and would love to be added to the list of editors when it is ready. You may have many requests for this, and I’m sure you’ll make your own choices as will best suit your needs… just wanted to offer.

    Hope your shoulder is doing much better, and be careful where you put that “foot”. God Bless you and “Keep on Truckin”!

    Jim Cowan

    • The BROAD says:

      Thanks Jim. I know right, stick your left foot out…. Just don’t trip. Haha. I’m in major pain but it will pass I a few days. It’s happened before gently during sleep but this time was a hell of a jolt. But I’ve survived worse right?!?! Thanks for sticking around and when book time comes I’ll keep you in mind for sure.

  9. Doreen says:

    I don’t know you personally but I do know most of the rescuers that took care of you on your unfortunate day and I must say that you are one lucky Broad to have had them there for you. I use to work with David and he has the biggest heart. God Bless you and it’s wonderful that you are recovering and coming back with such passion.

    • The BROAD says:

      Thanks Doreen. I appreciate your support and following along. I hope you’ll be around for the 2nd Leg. I’ll see my team many more times before I really stay dead some day. We are connected forever.

  10. Jo says:

    I am so glad you went back to meet all who responded, people just don’t realize how much that means to first responders. My daughter is a FF/Medic and son a FF/EMT, my daughters FIRST call as a medic was an “unexpected” delivery in the back of the ambo of a baby girl, mom “didn’t know she was pregnant”, to this day she wishes she could meet the baby she helped bring into the world. My son climbed into a tangled heap of metal to hold a woman’s hand and calm her while they cut her free from the car, they talked about many things, family, kids, anything to keep her mind off what was happening around her, she told him what a great guy he was and thanked him before he left the ER saying she was going to stop by and see him, she never did. People need to understand that these first responders do think about many of their patients and wonder how they are doing even years afterwards. I can tell you being the Mom of two of these special angels, they may at the time go into a “mode” to do their job, but when the adrenalin wears off and it sinks in what they just saw, it hits hard, just lastnight there was a hororiffic accident, van hit by semi, my daughter was a first responder, 8 year old little girl in traumatic arrest, they worked on her all the way to the hospital, sadly,she didn’t make it, a medic’s worse nightmare. If any of you reading this have been helped by one of these roadside angels, please take a minute to stop in and let them know how you are doing, it means so much to them. Thank you Ursula for doing that, I’m certain it meant more to them then it did to you!

    • The BROAD says:

      I agree that if your life is saved or even helped, there is every reason to send thanks. Although I would be hard pressed to argue who cares more… My crew and I could argue that until the next time I croak. What counts is the special bond we will all have from that day forward.

  11. Tricia Mabe says:

    Thanks for the update of what’s going on….I always keep a watch out for your posts. A book is a good idea, especially for the ones who have been through similar pain and need the encouragement you can give through your writings. You do have a gift of writing which draws people in and they never forget what you write, the messages you give between the lines, Lady!! That’s the reason people keep reading your posts! So glad you can travel and sorry you fell. Hope the healing process will be fast. So get started on finishing that book, would love to see a picture in the back of the book with you riding on a pretty new low rider, they are bringing them back this year!! πŸ™‚ YEAH! (I ride a 2003 Dyna Low-Rider, gun powder blue, kinda classy! Her name is Queenie) I can picture you at Bike Rides and Rallies doing “book signings!” I will be one of those people standing in line for mine!!! Take care!! Still praying for you in North Carolina – Tricia

    • The BROAD says:

      Hey baby. Great to hear from you again. I’m looking forward to a shiny old bike again. Really cannot wait. I’ll be in the southeast for a little while. Perhaps we can connect in a while when I’m back in the road.

  12. Mary Solmoson says:

    I have followed your journey since the day we met you in the hopital a year ago! What an amazing woman you are ! Coming from a family of first reponders , this story hits close to home! Thank you for thanking them, they too are heros in every sense of the word. I had hoped to see you on this trip but did not make it. Can we try for the next visit ? The club sends their best ..Much love, honor and respect~ Crash Wild Cougars MC

  13. Sandy Sherman-Williams says:

    “In the ditch, scared and alone I reached for this young man’s hand. On this day, scared and alone, he reached for mine.” SO much said in that sentence! *sniff*

    • The BROAD says:

      Thanks Sandy. We all make bad decisions from time to time. Some have more consequences than others. All I can do is forgive, move on, and pray this strengthens young Anthony.

  14. Lori Sinyard says:

    As I sit here and look forward to being able to read more of your writings. I hope In am able to be half the amazing woman you are!!! I can not wait to met you some day.

    • The BROAD says:

      Thanks Lori. It’s easy to be angry and hold hatred; its a human challenge to forgive and see life as others do. I just want what’s right, fair and achievable. I hope you’ll stay around for the 2nd Leg of the journey.

  15. Deeann Davis says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful reunion with some people who will be forever special to you. I’m glad you are having a great time. It’s good to see you healing and getting stronger. Best wishes for you always.

  16. Skip says:

    Wish I’d have known I’d have come to see and Meet my HERO. What you did for that young man is so wonderful πŸ™‚ GOD Bless you Miss BOARD.

  17. Dennie says:

    Hi Ursula, Gracie got me on your list so I receive all the posts. I didn’t realize I could reply till Gracie told me. I have wondered all along…will all of this become a book someday? You have such a gift. It wouldn’t need much editing, just spell check and little details like that. It is SO interesting! I have prayed for you and cried when I first heard of your accident. Now I get tears reading what you write. You said at the end of this post how fast you were driving and how fast Anthony was driving. And you asked HOW you could have survived. Well, it was a *miracle*! And the second miracle is you forgiving Anthony. In the Lord’s Prayer it says, “…and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

    The Lord bless you! Thanks for sharing your life with all of us! Dennie Rienstra Schurz, NV

    • The BROAD says:

      Oh sweet Dennie, you made my eyes glassy. Thanks for your support and continued prayers. To answer your question, yes! I have all the posts in one document already and book one will likely end on the day I return to the road, which will hopefully be in the next few weeks. I have a great deal of editing and filling in the blanks. A lot of behind the scene that didn’t get put in social media and making it sound like a book not a blog. My goal is to begin that editing process when I do return to the road and get a schedule and life of my own back. I’m looking forward to the returned freedom. Ask me how the edits are going in 4-6 months and perhaps I can offer you a sneak peek in exchange for a proofing eye. Again, thanks for your continued support. I sure hope you stick around for the 2nd Leg.

  18. michael gardner says:

    If ya gotta do a face plant, ya picked the right people to do it around! Still. try to avoid that in the future, ok?

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