Family and friends mark Randy Krulish’s accomplishments in 50 years since his accident
Published 10:25 am Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Celebrating a picture of hope
On May 30, 1966, Randy Krulish’s life changed forever, but family and friends gathered Monday to remember everything he’s accomplished since.
Monday marked the 50th anniversary of Krulish becoming quadriplegic. On May 30, 1966, Krulish, who was 12 at the time, traveled to Faribault with his family and dove off a dock, breaking his neck at the C3 and C4 vertebrae.
At Austin’s Cornerstone Church Monday, about 100 of Krulish’s family and friends came together to mark the occasion.
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“Look at how his life has just been filled with so many blessings,” friend Julie Bigaouette said. “I mean the people here celebrating, writing a book, he wrote two calendars — reflectional calendars — and now he’s speaking all over.”
Krulish, 62, published the book “Walk” in 2012 and has spoken to several groups about his experiences and about keeping a positive attitude.
But one of Monday’s highlights for Krulish was getting to see Jim Boohre and Larry Eickman, the two physical therapists who worked with him for several months following his injury.
“They really pushed me hard, which I appreciate so much, but they’re also my best friends and I love both of them,” Krulish said.
The two traveled many miles — Boohre from South Dakota and Eickman from North Dakota — to see Krulish on the day of his anniversary.
“That just blew my mind,” Krulish said of Boohres and Eickman.
The two were still students when they worked with the young Krulish after his injury and they became friends and have corresponded with him for many years since.
Krulish was critical for days after the accident; in fact, the doctors initially didn’t think he’d make the first night.
But by the time Boohre and Eickman worked with him for physical therapy, they remember someone who never complained, though he easily could have.
“What sticks out to me was: 12-year-old boy, paralyzed from the neck down, very positive, always had a smile on his face,” Boohre said. “I don’t know how many folks would do that. The same smile you see today.”
“He never complained, and he had every right to,” he added.
Eickman called it a unique experience that Krulish has been able to accomplish many things through the 50 years since his paralysis, and he recalled his hard work in rehab.
“He worked extremely hard,” Eickmann said. “He did everything he could to try to get better.”
One fond memory for Krulish, Boohre and Eickman was when the two and their wives took Krulish and his family to Eickman’s farm for a picnic toward the end of his treatment when he was 13. It was the last time they’d seen him since the two graduated in 1967.
“It’s been 49 years,” Boohre said.
Krulish called that trip wonderful moment to be in a home environment and out of a hospital. On Monday, he got to relive some of those memories in a unique way see some memories from that day as Eickman and Boohre brought along pictures of Krulish from 1967 that Krulish and his family didn’t know existed.
“They brought some unique pictures,” Krulish said. “I’m going to treasure them.”
Boohre and Eickman are both retired now. Boohre worked as the athletic trainer at South Dakota State University and Eickman worked at the University of North Dakota in a rehabilitation hospital.
Bigaouette, who has known Krulish for about 35 years, helped plan Monday’s party. She first met Krulish when she was a special education teacher in Lyle, where Krulish volunteered to team teach with her for five years and showed up for work everyday.
The two have remained in touch ever since, and Bigaouette said it’s been inspiring to see all that Krulish has accomplished, from writing “Walk” to becoming a public speaker. He’ll talk to a church group in Windom in August, and he spoke at a health convention two years ago.
“He kicked that all off just about living with a positive attitude and having hope that tomorrow’s going to be a better day,” Bigaouette said of the health convention.
But Krulish has also been an inspiration to his Cornerstone Church family, and Deb Swanson recalled Krulish’s testimony from when he was baptized, which she says still brings tears to her eyes.
“It was wonderful to see that,” she said.
Krulish said it was overwhelming to see all the friends and family who came out to see him.
“It’s amazing,” he said.