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Winslow benefit planned for May 18

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 05/20/2013 9:13 AM

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CLAREMONT, Minn. — On Feb. 8, Boyd Winslow was working on a tractor when it started in gear.

He wasn't able to get out of the way quick enough to avoid being run over.

"It's one of those things that makes us stop and think about how careful we really need to be because two seconds basically changed my whole summer," Winslow said last week from his home where he continues to recuperate from his injuries.

Winslow has undergone three surgeries so far and spent six weeks in the hospital.

"I'm actually a pretty lucky fella," he said.

Two things saved his life that fateful day in February. If the tractor's owner hadn't been there to stop the tractor and back it off of him, he wouldn't have survived. And if Mayo One wouldn't have been so close, he would have bled to death. He lost 6.5 units of blood.

His wife, Shelby, his children, his family and his community have rallied to support him.

His daughter, Andrea, and her husband, Luke, had a handicap ramp built into the house before he arrived home. His son, Matt, has stayed with him. His daughter, Becky, was at the hospital just about every night, bringing her daughters, Laurelee and Clara to visit him.

The best therapy was when Laurelee, 4, climbed into his hospital bed to watch cartoons with him.

His family also includes Matt's fiance, Bridget, and their daughter, Nyla, and Becky's husband, Larry.

Since coming home, Winslow fills his days with physical therapy and clinic appointments. He's ridden to town a couple times with Danny Lyke, who helps him in the shop. For the last week, he's been putting on his work clothes and going to the shop for a few hours in the evening when Lyke and Matt arrive. He can do little things, and the work wears him out.

He hopes to be back to 80 percent by Aug. 1. He's not used to sitting around, even being able to get out for a few hours a day is not the same, yet he's not complaining.

He's able to hold his grandbabies, he's not paralyzed . . . things could have been so much worse.

"When something like this happens, it's just overwhelming to find out how many friends you have," Winslow said. "Living in a small town like this, the support is just phenomenal."

People talk about the gossip in a small town, but when something like this happens, there are so many good things that come from living in a small farming community, Winslow said. In his case, the community has come together to hold a benefit to help cover his medical costs.

The Winslows have medical insurance, but they don't know how much it will cover. They're looking at more than a half million dollars in medical costs.

The Community Spaghetti Supper Benefit is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 18 at First Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of East and Church streets. Raffle tickets are also for sale at several Claremont businesses, with proceeds going to a Boyd Winslow Benefit Account set up at Equity Bank in Claremont.

Romell Matejcek, a benefit organizer, said they are hoping to get enough cash donations to cover the costs of the raffle items and the meal so all the proceeds can go to the Winslows.

"He always does stuff for the community, we figured it would be nice for everyone to help him out a little bit," she said.

Marshall Ahrens, another organizer, said Winslow and his family work with the 4-H kids to pick up the garbage at Hogfest, the town's summer festival. Winslow also drives for Meals on Wheels and is a ready volunteer for other community events.

"They're very supportive in Claremont," he said.

Winslow's mechanical talents are also appreciated by many. He makes farm calls, Ahrens said.

"There aren't too many guys like him to come around to fix machinery," he said.

Members of the town's three churches and the American Legion Auxiliary are all contributing to the benefit as are several businesspeople who donated raffle prizes.

When organizers picked the date, they hoped farmers would be done planting, but now it looks like farmers will be busy in the field. Not to worry, take-outs will be available, Ahrens said. They hope to serve 500 people.

Winslow plans to be there for the benefit. On May 9, he goes in for an MRI and x-ray and hopes to come home on crutches, leaving his wheelchair behind.

He'll need a couple more surgeries to repair injuries he suffered, but he's hopeful he'll be back to making farm calls come harvest.