Petersons picking up pieces after accident

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 5, 2002

Things have changed dramatically around the Peterson household in the last six months. After Justin Peterson was paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident, he moved back in with his parents for the first time in six years. Now they’re building a new wheelchair-accessible bedroom on the first floor, thanks to Larson Contracting in Lake Mills.

Justin worked at Larson Contracting for six years as a crew supervisor, and also helped his father Gary farm before the accident. Albert Lea Electric, Jim and Dude’s, UBC of Mason City, Home Improvement, Randall’s Concrete, Pella Windows, and Christianson Interiors have also donated labor or materials for the bedroom project.

After the single-car accident, Justin spent nine weeks at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, then traveled back and forth from home three times a week for the next month for rehabilitation therapy. There is a chance he will regain more strength and movement in his arms with continued therapy.

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The Petersons have had an outpouring of support from the community since the very beginning. Next Sunday, Aug. 11, friends have organized a benefit supper, silent and live auctions, and a drawing to help the Petersons with medical bills and the purchase of a wheelchair-accessible van.

&uot;That has been one of the biggest challenges,&uot; Peterson said. &uot;Just not being able to get out and go places.&uot;

The benefit takes place in the Freeborn-Mower Electric Cooperative building from 4-7 p.m. The Lundak family of Albert Lea has done most of the organizational work for the benefit. The pork sandwiches, salads and sweet corn are all donated, as are the various auction items and services of the people involved.

Tickets to Vikings and Timberwolves games, hotel rooms, seed corn and beans, art prints, and figurines are just some of the item up for auction. The dinner and drawing are both free-will donations with matching funds provided by local AAL/LB branches.

It’s still too soon for Justin to be making decisions concerning his future, but he hopes to start work again and be more mobile soon.