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Aaron’s Story

This is for the Insley boys- Aaron and Richard- who were in an auto accident in the early hours of Nov. 25th, 2007, near their home in Lake Elmo. Richard, 23, did not survive. Aaron, now 28, was hospitalized in St. Paul and continued his recovery in Red Wing. He came home on Nov. 11th, 2008. Aaron is stable, healthy, and receives excellent care. He remains in a minimally conscious state with the effects of a severe traumatic brain injury.

Aaron and Richard were very close and shared many of the same interests and friends. They were both avid mountaineers, having climbed Granite Peak, the highest summit in Montana, with their dad on separate trips.

Richard was a recent graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, and was currently working as a bank teller. He was engaged to be married in April and was thinking of going to law school. We share in our grief with his fiancee, Jenn, and hold her in our prayers.

Aaron was a senior at Gustavus Adolphus as a geography major, and planned to go to MSU-Mankato fall 2007 for a graduate degree.

Aaron has made an amazing recovery in the first year and continues to heal from a head injury. Our hopes are very high for his continued progress at home. Thanks for your continued letters of encouragement and support, and for all the prayers for Aaron and our family.

Latest Journal Update

End of year update

It’s been a long time since the last Caring Bridge entry. Most of you know that means that the Granite House project has been taking over our lives, night and day! It’s all good, though.  We had our first board meeting just before Thanksgiving, and we are very enthusiastic. Our board members all have backgrounds, experience, and talents that cover many areas of our work over the next year-- business, health care, banking, state government-- and all share a passion for what we are doing. We have our Mission Statement: "To provide support and hope to individuals and families who are living with severe and permanent brain injury."

We are now working on tasks in small groups until our next meeting in January, then we will get down to serious fundraising, work on our business plan and designing the residence with an architect. There was some good news from the state and federal funding agencies about the level of financial support our residents will have, so our cash flow may be adequate, once we get all the beds filled. Tom is in charge of clearing the land to prepare for site plans. He has been out there most weekends, even in the snow, felling trees, hauling branches, and burning huge quantities of brush.With Mary Ann and Wall-e (photos on this site), I think he's actually having a bit of fun.

We are just completing two large projects- the first is the filing for our Federal Tax Exempt status, called the 501(c)(3) form. It’s in the hands of our attorney now and will be filed before the end of the year. Most of the questions on the form required us to write narratives on the residents, the house, the staff, the services,and the funding. All in all, it was like a business plan by the time we got done. The other project is getting our website up and running. We have been writing lots of “stories” and gathering images for the building of the site,and it is in now in the hands of our grant writer. Keep checking- it will be“live” at www.granitehousemn.org. around the first of the year.

We have already started on fundraising for the start up expenses and the building fund, and have received just enough now to pay our attorney fees and a few other items. We expect to be receiving capital funding for the building phase, but some of the grants are matching, and will need to have individual donors step up to capture those funds. Once the tax form is approved, we will be able to accept credit card donations off the website, but for now we can only accept checks or stock transfers. We set up a business mailbox for that- it is Granite House, P.O. Box 283, Bayport, MN 55003. All donations will be tax-deductible now, even if the federal form is not yet finalized, going back to our date of incorporation, July 23rd.  Be sure to look at the details on the website or contact us.

Let’s not forget to fill you in on how Aaron is doing. He has had a good year, in spite of some recurring issues with his urethra. Back in 2007-2008 Aaron had a catheter in place before he came home, and it had been yanked out accidentally, causing some blockages (”strictures”) which have returned this year. I've had to learn to do many types of procedures at home—better than having to go to the clinic. We think we have it taken care of, but it has been persistent, requiring lots of extra care, and has caused Aaron quite a bit of discomfort. He’ll be having outpatient surgery again in January.

On a more pleasant note, Christmas has quietly crept up on us and we are doing our own thing, our own way. It’s fun to bake and make up goody bags for Aaron’s caregivers. They do such a wonderful job and have such big hearts. We had a quiet Thanksgiving (photo) and will have a family gathering after Christmas at our home.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas- Happy New Year-and thanks again for staying with us.



1 Comment

pat-jeri KEINZ
Merry Christmas to you. sounds like you are very busy this holiday season and you have things moving along nicely with the Granite House project. Good job, that's a lot of work.

Hey Aaron sounds like you had a good year, that's great, keep up the good work. The college is on break now but has been busy as ever with hockey, basketball, swimming, etc. Jan, Feb, Mar, will be much the same. always lots going on.
Hope you and yours have a great holiday season and I look forward to the next entry...pat k