With summer comes plenty of construction around Hutchinson, but one new residential site on Denver Avenue has a bigger story than one might expect.
Contractors from Hutchinson, Dassel, Lester Prairie, St. Paul and elsewhere are offering services at a discount price. Roughly 30 vendors have given discounts or donations of materials.
“A lot of people in the community came together,” said Mark Redman of Simonson Lumber. “Everyone we went to we asked for a discount to make more money on the sale of the house. People were on board.”
What about the house prompted generosity from so many people? Money from the sale of the house will go to lessen the physical pain of Minnesota veterans. Those taking on the project are doing so under the umbrella of Tradesmen for Troops.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine found 44 percent of 2,597 active-duty Army soldiers surveyed three months after their redeployment experienced chronic pain. In a pilot program, Minnesota-based Pain Free Patriots provided grants to 600 veterans and offered pain relief services. More than 90 percent reported significant, lasting relief following treatment. Now the program’s organizers want it to grow.
“We can take the hardest case veterans who are given up on, who are about to give up, and we can make them better,” said Doug Huseby, Pain Free Patriots founder. “They come in out of options and they get better.”
The Becker Furniture founder grew the program from his experience providing health and physical rehabilitation services to his employees. There are now three Wellness Centers in Rogers, Brooklyn Park and Minnetonka, and three mobile units that travel to visit veterans. Services include muscle and nerve therapy, spinal screening and balance and other rehabilitation practices under the guidance of medical professionals.
Hutchinson American Legion Post 96 Commander Tim Burley said that when he left the Army, he was taking 25 pain killers a day due to pain. Since then, he has seen many veterans visit Veterans Affairs for pain treatment, only to be given potentially addictive opioid prescriptions to deal with the pain while they are made to wait for treatment.
Burley’s back pain continued for years.
“I would go golfing with my wife and actually have tears in my eyes hitting the ball,” he said in a testimonial. “Today I am back to running, I haven’t taken a Motrin in two months.”
All relief offered by Pain Free Patriots is done without opioids or narcotics and without charging veterans.
Burley benefited from the organization’s microcurrent and massage therapy. Following treatment, he said he feels years younger and is able to stay active longer without needing a break due to pain.
The cost of bringing veterans through the program will add up as it grows, and Huseby said he dreams of seeing the program help veterans all across Minnesota, if not beyond. That’s why it is seeking donations.
“The protocols are figured out now,” Huseby said. “We just need the funding.”
That’s where the money from the sale of the Denver Avenue house kicks in. To make the deal even sweeter, a buyer has already agreed to purchase the home.
“They are really excited about it because of where the money is going to go. They were going to build a house anyways, but they liked this idea,” said Realtor Randy Redman. “We are probably going to net between $25,000 and $30,000.”
He and his brother, Mark, and Burley helped organize the local contributions to Tradesmen for the Troops.
“This is the very first in the state and they are committed to do it in more communities if it works,” Randy said. “It’s not asking people to work for nothing. It’s asking them to work for a little bit less.”
Every dollar saved on the construction will push the net benefit for Pain Free Patriots, and veterans, further. Organizers also hope the construction will bring more attention to the program and inspire contributions. Anyone interested in the Hutchinson project can contact Randy Redman at RE/MAX Results or Mark Redman at Simonson Lumber. You can learn more about Pain Free Patriots or donate at painfreepatriots.org.
Colby Lindback of Green Isle has lived with Duchenne muscular dystrophy since he was 5 years old. His body doesn’t produce the hormone dystrophin, which helps build and rebuild muscle.
“Colby doesn’t have anything to build muscle with,” his sister, Autumn, a Glencoe-Silver Lake and Ridgewater College graduate, said. “So over time he lost his ability to walk, has been losing ability in his arms and he is currently in advanced lung and heart failure.”
Despite all Colby has lived with, he hasn’t let that keep him away from his true passion.
“Colby loves cars,” said his father, Jeff. “He loves monster trucks. He loves basically anything with a motor on it.”
Colby’s passion is shared with the rest of family. They enjoy visiting car shows, and each year he and his dad attend the Back to the ’50s car show at the State Fairgrounds.
But now, Colby’s passion for cars, his deteriorating health and his family’s love have them in a race against time to finish a project that started in 2015: A fully restored El Camino.
The idea for the project was sparked by a Christmas gift Colby gave his older brother, Tony, who was living in Texas. He wanted to build a model 1969 Malibu, the same type of car Tony had helped his father with once when he was young.
“Colby has always been big on trying to give everybody the most meaningful gifts he can,” Autumn said. “He at one point was upset because I gave mom a blanket for Christmas that had our pictures on it, so he decided to outdo me and get her a kitten on Mother’s Day. He’s always been big on getting meaningful gifts.”
When Tony opened the package with the car inside, he was so overwhelmed with emotion that it brought tears to his eyes, Jeff said. He returned to Texas and thought about what he wanted to give to Colby, and they decided on building an El Camino because it has a sporty front, similar to a Malibu, but could also fit Colby’s wheelchair in the back.
Tony found an El Camino and drove it all the way up from San Antonio to his parents’ farm in Green Isle. He wanted to work on it with Colby and Jeff whenever he was in town.
From there, the work began.
“We started planning and collecting parts,” Jeff said.
They went to every car show and swap meet they could find, searching for the parts they needed to fix the car. A special pully system was installed to help Colby get in and out of the car. They even had a name for the car: the Two Brothers Classic.
Tragedy changes plans
At the same time the family was working on the El Camino, Tony also had a 1957 Chevy being stored and worked on it at the Green Isle farm.
“He said don’t worry about that ’57. We need the El Camino done first so Colby has time to enjoy it,” Jeff said. “So I went full steam into (the El Camino).”
Then everything changed on Dec. 20, 2017, when Tony was killed in a crash on his way home from work in Texas. He left behind his wife and two daughters.
Since Tony’s death, Jeff has been the only person working on the El Camino. They’ve acquired all the parts needed to complete the restoration, but there is still much work to be done.
Because of Colby’s love for car shows, they hope to be able to drive the restored El Camino to a show once it is finished.
Autumn recently reached out on several Facebook pages, asking for volunteers to help with the restoration, but so far the family has not received much assistance. Anyone who wants to help with the project may contact Autumn Elizabeth or Jeff Lindback on Facebook.
Help or no help, the family is determined to have the car ready for Colby to enjoy.
“We may not get it painted. We may not get it exactly the way we wanted it,” Jeff said. “But we’re going to get it to where he can ride in it this year. That’s our goal, to get it done this year.”
When Kiley Kruggel began work as a masseuse, she knew she wanted to help people find enduring solutions to their aches and pains.
“I love just how the body works,” Kruggel said. “I want people to have the option to help muscles recover with massage and not just rely on medications or painkillers. I want them to get long-lasting relief through massage.”
She also knew that one day she would open her own business. After four years working at Genesis Salon and Enso Spa in Hutchinson, where she specialized in relaxation, deep tissue, therapeutic and pregnancy message, it was finally time.
Kruggel opened her own business, Much Kneaded Massage, on May 1 in a rented room inside of Robert Michael’s Hair Salon, 140 Main St. S., downtown Hutchinson. But there was one more thing she knew she needed before starting her new venture: help.
“With my exercise science and massage degrees, we learned a little bit about running our own business,” she said. “But since I wanted to go work with a spa and start out there first, I didn’t really take that into consideration. I was like, ‘Oh, that’ll be a while.’”
When Kruggel was finally ready to take the next step, she reached out to the Southwest Initiative Foundation.
“Kiley was looking for an opportunity to be self-employed, and we’re excited to help her create that by guiding her through the ins and outs of opening a small business,” said Jackie Turner, an economic development officer with SWIF.
SWIF is a nonprofit community foundation serving 18 counties in southwest Minnesota, plus two native nations. With the help of its microenterprise loan program, Kruggel received the funds she needed for equipment and start-up costs. The program also provides financial management skills, operations and marketing training.
“They were super responsive and helpful in getting my business plan set,” Kruggel said. “They gave me ideas and a lot of stuff to work with.”
For Kruggel, having her own business and setting her own hours was always the goal. As a single mom, she looks forward to working around her son’s activities schedule.
“I love having the freedom to make my own schedule. It’s nice if I want to come in on a night that I don’t have anything going on,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to schedule clients and be flexible like that.”