Stewartville man thankful for 14,600 extra days - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Stewartville man thankful for 14,600 extra days

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STEWARTVILLE, Minn. (KTTC) -- Anniversaries mark big moments in our lives and at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday night, Bob Bardwell counted down the minutes to a different kind of anniversary.

In 1973 an accident rendered Bardwell unconscious and paralyzed him from the waist down.

In the following years he said the thought of giving up crossed his mind many times... however instead of throwing in the towel he decided to turn it into a learning experience.

"I have an old saying that says you can turn scar into stars," said Bardwell.

Bob was involved in a construction accident at age 25 that changed his life forever. He was hit by a machines bucket. "I was repairing a big cable right there and when that bucket came down it shoved my shoulder down and forward. It collapsed my body down and pinned me right there.'"

In that moment he learned more about himself than ever. And from his experience he shares insight to others. "The greatest destroyer of a bright future is dwelling on the past," he said.

Being in a wheelchair, Bob has accomplished things he thought he would never do, including creating the Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch in Stewartville. Inside the lodge is a room which doubles as a time capsule of Bob's life after the accident.

He participated in dozens of marathons. So many he uses his running bibs as wallpaper. "Here's a classic, my first marathon," he said pointing to one number. "Right there. Your first one has got to be a celebration."

Downstairs, a few close friends gather to celebrate an anniversary Bob has been counting down the days for. 14,6000 days to be exact.

"That's a lot of days," he said. "That's a lot of days. So now I'm thinking about my next ten years."

And with more years, comes more lessons.

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