Trent Nelson home to celebrate the holidays

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 20, 2004

By Shelly Zeller, For the Tribune

One Alden family knows that they have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season.

The Gary Nelson family has been through it all. After three of their four children were involved in a car accident last February, they knew their family would never be the same.

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&uot;We are just thankful we have him [Trent] with us,&uot; said Lori Nelson, mother of three sons Aaron, Trevor and Trent, and daughter, Krystal.

Trent was seriously injured in a car accident last February with Trevor and Krystal, and spent months in Rochester, but is now home to enjoy the holidays with his family.

&uot;It could’ve been worse,&uot; said Lori. &uot;We could’ve been planning three funerals last winter and now look how far we’ve come.&uot;

Lori knows that without their family and the community, they wouldn’t be where they are today.

&uot;Family support goes further than anything else,&uot; she said.

Lori and her husband, Gary, are lucky enough to have both of their extended families from St. Charles, all being about 20 miles away from Rochester.

&uot;We are also lucky just to have Rochester so close to our home,&uot;

she said. &uot;Not only did we have family to help us through Trent’s hospitalization, but the community is something our whole family is thankful for. Everyoneis so supportive in Alden. The community helped us out a lot. They were always there when we needed them, and prayed for Trent when he needed it the most.&uot;

Since both Lori and Gary work in school districts &045; Lori in Albert Lea and Gary in Alden &045; they had enough flexibility to continue with their work and still be able to spend time in the hospital.

&uot;It was nice that we could continue with our jobs,&uot; said Lori. &uot;We were able to have one person at work and one in the hospital. It also worked out well to have the summer months off.&uot;

As for the Alden-Conger School District, the Nelson family said that they did more than they ever thought was possible.

&uot;Alden hired Sam Hintz as the assistant varsity softball coach so that Gary was able to miss some practices and be able to spend the time he needed with Trent,&uot; said Lori. &uot;Gary also turned 50 after the accident and the school and its staff made sure the day wasn’t forgotten.&uot;

Not only has the school been there for the family, but for Trent also.

&uot;The school purchased some software so that Trent can get extra help where it’s needed,&uot; said Lori. &uot;That’s been a great help. He is now able to go half days at Alden and then to HealthReach three afternoons a week.

&uot;He is doing really well in art class and also takes the applied science class where they work on the super mileage car at the high school.&uot;

Lori is optimistic about his learning abilities.

&uot;When it’s third quarter, hopefully he can take ninth-grade English and that way he’ll get to spend more time with his friends, which I can tell he really wants to do,&uot; she said.

Although the family is trying to do the things that Trent’s always done, working with the right side of his body is the biggest challenge.

&uot;Trent is left-handed and so we’re lucky that his right side was the one affected,&uot;

said Gary. &uot;This way he is still able to draw and do a few more things.&uot;

Just as the discussion of Trent’s healing continues, he comes down the steps with his dad. He is now able to get around without any support systems.

Trent talks about an art project that he’s been working on for weeks. The work on this art piece is amazing, something most people would never be able to do.

&uot;It’s emotions,&uot;

said Trent.

His art teacher in Alden, Mrs. Johnson, has been working with him since the accident and it shows.

&uot;He’s really glad to be back at school so that he is able to draw,&uot; said Lori. &uot;He always liked to do that.&uot;

Trent excitedly brings up fishing. With his camouflage pants and a sweatshirt that reads, &uot;Here Fishy Fishy,&uot; everyone knows how important fishing is to Trent. When asked about future plans, Trent replied &uot;To fish with Kurt, Greg and Bonnie up North.&uot;

Lori and Gary nod their heads, knowing how important fishing is to him.

Not only is Trent excited about fishing; he recently received an autographed football from Minnesota Viking’s quarterback Daunte Culpepper.

&uot;Trent is working on a thank you to Daunte today.&uot;

Although there are so many positive things in Trent’s life right now, it’s difficult to forget about what happened.

&uot;It’s hard for him because he is just now starting to think about it and what really happened,&uot; said Lori. &uot;He doesn’t remember a lot of things that happened between February and April.&uot;

With all the family changes for the Nelsons, they are thankful for everything that they have and how far they’ve gotten since last February.

&uot;We’ve gotten so much stronger as a family,&uot; said Lori. &uot;We have so much to be thankful for.&uot;

And as for Trent, he is thankful for two things, &uot;My mom and dad,&uot; said Trent.