Letter: Bland family expresses gratitude for support, help since son’s accident

Dear Editor:
This community we have chosen to call home has brought me to my knees on several occasions throughout the journey of our oldest son’s accident on April 8 of this year.
Standing there on scene, numb, watching CPR being done on Bradi, little did I know what miracles were already in place so that he would survive and beat every odd, along with the grim prognosis shown on the MRI.
While this year has been the most challenging, it is also full of so much to be thankful for. I humbly apologize for the long delay in properly thanking everyone for the many blessings we have received throughout this journey. Just in the last few days have I finally felt grounded since the night of Bradi’s accident. With Thanksgiving just days away, more than ever are we aware of just how much we have to be thankful for.
First and foremost is that we still have Bradi. It is no accident Officer Gardner Mendenhall was the first to find Bradi 42 feet from his truck, in the dark, and had the tools and knowledge to provide Bradi with the life saving CPR he needed to bring him back, against every odd. How do you properly thank the person who is literally the reason your son is alive today?
The EMTs, fire department and ER staff did an outstanding job of taking care of three youth that were all known to them. We are all so blessed in having each and every one of them and the resources they provide.
We are beyond thankful Tyler and Cole did not sustain the level of injuries Bradi did. We are also thankful for their families support when, if not for their genuine love and support for Bradi could have gone in another direction.
The outpouring of love and support began within minutes of the accident and still continues to this day. I’ve witnessed this community coming together more times than I can count, however, you have no idea the depth and what it brings when you find your family in a situation your never imagined. The comforting hug, encouraging word, love and show of support in a time of trauma and uncertainty while in an unfamiliar environment far from home is essential.
Students praying at the flag pole; singing happy birthday to Bradi during prom; Wade’s signs in town reminding people to pray for Bradi; Lisa, Anna and Peggy’s delicious delivered meals when you have nothing left to give. For the people that take a load off. Amy Chinn for the difficult task of keeping everyone up to date, fielding questions and helping Kyler navigate the rest of his freshman year. Judy Eskelson for, as always, being there in my most mental moments. Deby Merriam for taking the time to visit Grams and Poppa and help them understand the severity of their grandson’s injuries. For the high school girls who cooked them dinner and took the time to comfort and be with them. The many prayers that we are so grateful for and they continue to this day from as far away as Jamaica. Bailey thinking of Bradi during graduation and setting a table up to represent Bradi. Uncle Deven with his heart that is bigger than he will ever be. We are so grateful for the donation of your guitar and jersey for the raffle and it’s success. Jeff LeBleu for spreading the word, Maddie Arnold for creating a website to purchase tickets, recording a spot for the radio station, and for all of the volunteers that took from their personal time to sell tickets. My cousin, Linda, for starting a GoFundMe account and making dozens of handmade cards. Cassie McGuire, Rick Dodds and Bernie Roybal for planning and executing the highly successful Riden’ for Bradi benefit poker run and after party that brought awareness to traumatic brain injuries. It was a top notch event that Bradi and our family will be paying it forward and volunteering for next year! There are also many to thank that were behind the scenes, also making the event successful.
Wade Bradfield for mentoring and being a positive influence in Bradi’s life since before the accident, holding a very special place in his heart. For allowing Bradi to return to his job and giving of so much time in helping him with his continued recovery. Mel Kracht for the much needed daily support, gift basket and time in baking and selling cakes. XTO in allowing the time needed so that Richard could be at Bradi’s side 24/7 and doing the things I could not do in that first month. Priceless. Van and Stuart for visiting, ensuring we had what we needed and the rest of the XTO staff for their generosity, thoughts and prayers. Lela, Kaylee, JulieAnn and Haylee for delivering much needed clothes, papers and items from Meeker to Children’s. Ellen and Marci for your goat whispering abilities. Poppa and Gene for building the remaining goat fence. White River Electric for your generous donation. Billy and Uri Goedert for your generosity, visits, friendship and always being there for Kyler. Deanna and Hailee for making the trip from Wyoming and being there in the first days and providing Kyler the support he very much needed. Stacey and Annie for saving and taking care of my Danes. Paula at MVB for your help in setting up Bradi’s Medical Fund. Grams, Poppa and Vanna for maintaining the house, taking care of our animals, repairing and buying new when the sewer backed up and the water pump burned up. And for everything else you spared more stress by not telling me! Misty for letting me kick, scream at you and rant and still loving me today! Kyler for stepping up and taking on more responsibilities, doing your best in maintaining “normal” when your world was also turned upside down. Supporting your brother and us in knowing he required more time and care during those months in Denver while we had to be away. You had to grow up fast and we are very proud of you!
There are many people who gave generously, sent cards, etc., and have shown so much genuine love for Bradi and our family. I cannot possibly mention every name in the space provided but please, please know we are truly grateful for each and every one of you and have not taken one single thing for granted. We are beyond blessed to live in this community we call home!
I cannot stop here…Bradi survived for a purpose and although we may not know the reasons now, there are lessons to be learned from his accident. There were poor decisions made that night but one should not be a decision. It should be a habit. Wear your seat belt. No one deserves or wants to watch a loved one go through a life altering injury and recovery. Life is now defined by before the accident and after the accident. A seat belt would have made the difference between the life altering TBI or a short hospital stay. Find your seat belt uncomfortable? Is it broke? Fix it! Bradi’s accident happened literally just a football field’s length from home. Wear it every time, all the time. A block or 100 miles, wear it! Do it for the ones you love. No one and no family deserves or wants to go through the journey we’ve been though. Seat belts do save lives.


Brinda Johnson
Richard Bland