Injured teen touches Carson hearts | NevadaAppeal.com

Injured teen touches Carson hearts

by Sally J. Taylor

Kevin Petersen, 14, watches tv in his home in Carson City Thursday afternoon. Petersen was the victim of a rollover traffic accident and just recently got out of the hospital. photo by Rick Gunn

The story of a young teenager confined to a wheelchair has touched the hearts of Carson area resident.

Many have put their concerns into action, offering equipment, a hammer held by a ready hand, and checks to help purchase needed equipment.

For the family of Kevin Petersen — the 14-year-old with spinal injuries due to a rollover accident on Dec. 31 — the help of the community is “overwhelming.”

“Once again it shows how generous this community is,” said Kevin’s mother, Pam Petersen. “We’re overwhelmed. It reinforces why we love living here.”

Some of Kevin’s benefactors are known, others are anonymous. The Petersens do not know who has contributed to a special bank fund, but those contributions have been put to good use. Among other things, the fund has enabled them to purchase a special bed for Kevin.

Katherine MacDonald, who has lived in Carson City since 1983, has two portable wheelchair ramps sitting in the garage that she has offered to the Petersens. The ramps were purchased for her grandchildren. The twins are now able to walk.

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Doug Martin, a 25-year Carson resident, has come forward with an offer of special equipment and, just as important, his own story.

“I had a very similar thing happen to me,” he said.

Last August, Martin, 50, suffered a severely bruised spinal chord and two burst vertebrae in an automobile accident. He spent six weeks in a rehabilitation hospital and several months in a wheelchair.

His back is now fused and he has a metal rod holding it all together. But he has also progressed and can now walk with limitations on his own.

“Four months ago, I was really discouraged,” said Martin, who continues to need extensive therapy. “But the other day was the first time I played golf (since the accident). I did OK.”

With his progress, Martin has been able to leave some of his equipment behind.

“I have a few things left over from my rehabilitation and, more importantly, I thought Kevin would benefit from seeing how far I’ve come.”

A six-year Jacks Valley resident, who does not want public attention, read Kevin’s story Saturday in the context of other stories, such as the vandalism of Krystal Steadman’s memorial on Spooner Summit.

“There were so many down things for the weekend,” he said.

In the case of the Petersens, there was something he could do. An experienced carpenter who has constructed several wheelchair ramps, he offered his services to the Petersens.

“I thought maybe they could use a little help,” he said. “I didn’t know if they had the know-how (to build a ramp).

“If everybody just was a little nicer to each other, it would be a better world.”

All the help offered the Petersens will help Kevin get around with his limitations for now. The family is hopeful that he will regain some or all of the function in his legs, but for now Kevin will return to school after spring break in a wheelchair.

An account has been opened at Bank of America to receive donations for Kevin Petersen. The account number is 004 965 334532.

Mrs. Petersen acknowledged that the many contributions to Kevin’s care can never be repaid.

“But in our lives and Kevin’s, maybe we can repay in some roundabout way.”

YOU CAN HELP

A bank account has been opened at Bank of America to receive donations for Kevin Petersen the account number is 004 965 334532.