A belated thank you to one of our hometown heroes
Before the Super Bowl, Tom Brady was asked who his hero was and he answered that it was his dad. That got me thinking about my dad who was my hero in many ways. In 1965, my dad, Frank Burke, nearly lost his life in an automobile accident. What saved his life was that he was wearing a seatbelt for the first time ever and the fact that a highway patrolman, Smokey Owen and the Glendive chief of police, Verr Cady were very close behind him, so he received first aid and help was summoned immediately.
This story has many heroes, but there is one who was responsible for returning my dad to me almost as good as before. Back then, we didn’t have specialized areas in our hospital, so after my dad got his back pieced back together, the doctors didn’t give much hope of him walking again. Since I was a child at the time, I’m not sure how it came about, but the physical therapy department in Billings got instructions for therapy to be done twice a day to my hero, Don Kettner, who was already a busy college coach, and instructor. Don showed up at our house twice a day for months to do the exercises and keep my dad’s legs strong. When he couldn’t make it he recruited Gary Nelson, who was the high school PE teacher and coach to help him. After about a year, my dad was back to walking with only a cane. I attribute it to many prayers and the dedication of Don and Gary. I’m not sure I’ve ever thanked Don for giving my dad back to me, so consider this a big thank you 52 years later. I appreciate all the work you’ve done for the college and the town of Glendive, too. If there was a place to vote for a hometown hero, Don Kettner would be my choice.
Mary Ann (Burke)