Jed Nield is a man who has earned my respect. He is a rodeo competitor (a team roper), a father of four children, and manager of a 13,000-acre ranch in Idaho.
Why is Jed so impressive to me? After all he is not the only person with these attributes, and in fact there are probably hundreds of cowboys in this country who fit this description, but, in my opinion, he stands out from them all.
On January 29, 2007, he was working alone in a remote area of a phosphate mine, doing some drilling and blasting. On this particular day Jed suffered an industrial accident that changed his life and his family’s life forever.
As he was drilling, he encountered a problem with the drill and decided to fix it without turning it off. Unfortunately, his clothes got caught in the drill, which pulled him into it and spun him around at 114 RPMs. Finally, his clothing ripped and he was thrown free.
This accident cost him his arm and eventually his leg. He had the presence of mind to use his cell phone to call for help (which miraculously worked in an area where it usually does not). The doctors attribute his life being saved to this call and the cold, which caused the bleeding to slow down.
From this accident Jed developed a personal philosophy for life, a philosophy that could benefit us all. Jed has chosen to live his post-accident life “living to live, not living to die.” He has not let the loss of an arm and leg, countless surgeries, and pain stop him.
Even though he only has one arm and one leg he doesn’t consider himself disabled. He has a positive attitude, and is more grateful than ever for being alive, being able to work, and being a husband, father, and grandfather.
Parents can help their children embrace their challenges and grow stronger as they face them. Let’s help them to be grateful for who they are and encourage them to adopt a “live to live” philosophy.
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