‘I think my heart got a lot bigger’

Published 6:00 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

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This year’s Pay It Forward project to support the Staver family


Everyday people are reminded of how quickly life can change. A mere moment can alter the course of one’s life long after the moment has passed.

For Tim Staver, that moment came at around 4 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2019. That was when Staver’s snowmobile, which he was riding as part of a vintage ride between Rose Creek and Adams, was involved in a crash.

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“I hit something, an ice clump … hit that and it actually threw me into the end drive with the snowmobile,” Tim said on a sunny and warm Monday afternoon, a far cry different from just over five years ago. “I’ve been constantly working on the body to get back to it.”

A couple days after the accident the Mower County Sheriff’s Office reported that Staver had been northbound on his snowmobile on a nearby trail when he hit a snowbank and rolled over. The report also revealed that he had said there was pain in his back and that his arm might have been broken.

But the reality was much more than that. Staver had actually broken his back in the accident and had suffered injuries up and down his spine requiring past surgeries and surgeries yet to come.

“There are four different types of disc issues you can get and I have every single one of them,” Tim said. 

The injuries impact him daily and can make even simple things like getting in the shower and turning the water on difficult.

“It can be the stupidest thing,” he said. “I can sweep the house and just wreck my back doing that and then there are days I’m doing just fine. It’s weird how the nerve pain can be fine one day and then it’s, what did I do to irritate it?”

It’s for these reasons and more that Tim has been chosen as this year’s Pay It Forward project, which will begin on March 18 and go through the week as volunteers go to work on the still unrevealed plans.

“Tim is young and to have the back problems he has now will follow him the rest of his life … giving him some more comfort in the house that’s more functional and supportive for him is important,” said Pay It Forward’s Gina Grundmeier. “It’s definitely bringing up the quality to help him with his daily functions.”

While it’s currently unknown who nominated Tim and his family, Grundmeier said that it’s Tim’s goal of helping others that really played a part in choosing them for this year’s project.

The coordinator for the Toys for Tots program in both Mower and Freeborn counties the last seven years and involved grand total for nearly 10 years, Tim continues in that role despite some of the limitations his injuries have caused.

“He’s still in the community,” Grundmeier said. “I think it’s really important to help them continue their strides.”

And being able to continue the program is important to Tim as well, who said it’s paramount to do what he can for the community.

“I enjoy helping people and it gives me another purpose,” he said. “Being laid up as much as I have been … you need to keep busy doing something and helping people. That’s why I keep doing it.”

Still, Tim, who had never heard of Pay It Forward until this year, said that he was taken aback that it was his family with wife Samantha and their 11-year-old daughter Bristel, who were chosen for this year’s project.

Even if he doesn’t know who nominated him.

“I was stunned and I think my heart got a lot bigger,” Tim said. “I’m the person that likes to help out people. I’m learning to take the help because that’s just different for me and Sam. It’s a learning experience for sure, but it’s a good one.”

“I’m just blown away,” Samantha added. “ I don’t know what to think. I don’t know.”

Tim continues physical therapy to this day and is keen to make sure he stretches and takes brisk walks to help with the pain that is a constant in his life.

He falls back on his time in the Marine Corp, of which he was a member for eight years, for support as well as his church where his faith has been a considerable source of support.

Family has been an important part of everything as well, including Samantha’s help with Toys for Tots and of course, Bristel’s help.

“She’s helped a lot,” Tim said. “She’s been into those Toys for Tots boxes, grabbing toys for us, since she was two. She’s learned a lot. I’m proud of her for sure.”

But the experience, even though the project hasn’t started yet, has also left an impression on Tim and his family.

“We’re going to do the same,” he said, referring to those who have already been a part of the project both past and present. “We’ll donate what we can and generally help out.”

As for the day itself, when the project is revealed, Tim said he doesn’t know how the family will react but it will be much appreciated.

“It will probably be new emotions I’ve never had. I don’t know,” he admitted. “I’ll definitely be grateful and blessed and maybe might have to throw on some sunglasses.”

If anybody would like to volunteer or donate to the project then can either reach out through phone call or text to 1-507-460-9025 or write via mail at PO Box 442, Austin, MN, 55912.