Words of encouragement

The following is a list of well wishes this blog has received:


160 responses to “Words of encouragement

  1. MB

    December 14, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    You are in our thoughts and prayers. Attitude is everything so they say, and you are one person with an incredible attitude towards life!
    Remember that lots of positive thoughts are being sent your way, and your Crestview family can’t wait to see your smile in person! We love you!
    Ron, MB & Colin

  2. Sudheendra

    December 14, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I am Sudheendra, Erika’s classmate in the MBA program.
    I am so glad that the surgery was a success and I wish you a speedy recovery. I would pray for you and hope things get back to normal as soon as possible.

    Erika : If there is anyway we can help you please let us know. We are with you.

    Best Wishes and Good luck


  3. karyl thurston

    December 15, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Dear Joel, Erika and All Who Are Keeping Vigil

    My guys wish you the best and I’ll be there next week to do it myself. Speedy recovery.

  4. Chris Van Kirk

    December 15, 2006 at 9:47 pm


    You are in the thoughts and prayers of all of us at Kinetics.

    I’m very happy to hear the surgery went well. You will no doubt be the subject of a great deal of TSA interest when you travel.

    Please continue amazing everyone with your spirit and recovery.

    Chris Van Kirk

  5. Keith Kindle

    December 16, 2006 at 12:20 am


    Glad to hear that your surgery went well.

    I received word of your accident on Monday and have had you, your family and the staff treating you in my prayers since then.

    I will be checking your status through this site. Good Luck to you and GOD bless.

    Keith Kindle

  6. Jason Botterill

    December 16, 2006 at 1:27 am

    We are going to have to start calling you Steve Austin the 6 Million Dollar Man.

    Glad to hear the surgery went well. I know your positive attitude and strength will propel you through rehab.

    I look forward to sharing a drink again soon.

    Your friend and colleague.

    Jason Botterill

  7. Diane Kingsley

    December 16, 2006 at 4:35 am

    Hey Joel, one car accident is this family is enough! You definitely “one-up’d” me with your accident. I hear you have a cracked sternum and some cracked ribs. Boy, can I relate to your discomfort there. I couldn’t lay down flat without discomfort for 6 weeks…and they have you flat alot!

    Seriously, I am so sorry about the accident. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I’ll be lighting candles for you at church. With all the prayers and positive thoughts coming your way, you’ve got to get better.

  8. Peter Scanlon

    December 16, 2006 at 6:42 pm


    You know what comes after physical therapy?

    Liquid therapy. Like the kind at Four Peaks.

    Be there – I’m buying.



    PS – Donkeys suck.

  9. Currie and Aaron Terry

    December 16, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    Joel –

    We know your brother Bryan through Jessica – Currie and Jessica worked together and were roommates in Vancouver, WA. We were saddened to hear about your accident but are encouraged to hear about the support and care you’re getting and about your progress and positive spirit.

    Our thoughts, prayers and encouragement are with you!

    Currie and Aaron

  10. Jenn & Ray Bennett

    December 17, 2006 at 1:01 am

    Dear Joel,
    As a physician I have seen many miracles in the last ten years. You are one of them. Our positive thoughts are with you, Erika, Bryan and the rest of your family as you continue to heal.
    We hope to see you in 2007.
    Jenn, Ray and little Brady

  11. Susan and Sandy

    December 17, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    Dear Joey,
    Glad to hear you have had a couple of good days. You are in our thoughts and prayers and we hope each day gets a little better. Let’s hope the Broncos have their first win in five weeks. Be strong.
    Love from “the” hill,
    Susan and Sandy

  12. Brandon Cislo

    December 17, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    Joel –

    It’s great to hear that your recovery is going so well, and I hope that things only keep improving for you! The upcoming weeks and months are going to be a lot of hard work, but I hope you know how many people you have supporting you. Keep your spirits up and we all look forward to seeing you again in 2007!

    Best wishes,
    Brandon Cislo

    • Rahul

      October 12, 2014 at 6:00 am

      Wow you guys are so encouraging

  13. Sharon Spicer

    December 18, 2006 at 4:21 am

    Hey Joel
    I am so sorry to hear about the accident but I am glad to read that it sounds like your getting better each day. Keep up your positive spirit! You are one of the most optomistic people I know! Don’t lose that. I didn’t watch the Broncos today, we had the Bears on instead. Not like I really watched any of it!
    I just wanted to let you and Erika (and any other family members) that I work at Barrow if anyone has any questions regarding the program. I work with kids but I know the staff pretty well. I know the exterior isn’t beautiful but the therapists kick butt! Please feel free to email me. We are also moving into a brand new facility in middle of February.
    Well, keep up the hard work. You are in our prayers.
    Sharon Spicer

  14. Diane Kingsley

    December 18, 2006 at 6:40 am

    Well, Joel, you should be in good spirits today since the Broncos won and are looking good for a wildcard spot in the play-offs. I’m glad the Cardinals could help the Broncos along!

    I think about you a lot. Pete and I wish there is something we can do. Right now, please know that we are sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers your way. I’m glad you are surrounded by family, friends, and Erika is there with you.

    Keep up the good work with physical therapy. Looking forward to hearing about your continued recovery and progress.


  15. Katie Watson

    December 18, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    The Optima Team is exicted to hear the surgery went well and that you are recovering strong (as we all knew you would). We are all thinking of you and wishing you only the best. Keep in touch and remember not to sieze up on those nurses, especially during your sponge bath! Hugs and Kisses

  16. Loren and Susan Melvin

    December 18, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Joel

    Just a quick note to let you know we are thinking about

    you and to tell you that we love you. I have been hearing

    some funny stories from your babysitting days at the

    Melvin house!!!! Love, Love Susan,Loren,Brad & Darin

  17. Todd Rodriguez

    December 18, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    You needed Pepe in your corner!!!!!!!!! Chin up!!

  18. Dyan, Rick & Kayla

    December 18, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    So happy to read that you are doing well. Every day you will get better and stronger and we know this because of all the prayers, wishes and positive thoughts that everyone is sending your way. We will keep in touch through the blog until you are ready to recieve a phone call from us. Please let us know ASAP when we can call.

    Love and Hugs
    Dyan, Rick and Kayla

  19. Frank the "Tank"

    December 18, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Hello Joel (AKA Johnny Yuma)

    I was sorry to hear about your accident but am glad to see that you are making great progress.

    We need to get together when you are better, and close down some brew pubs. Now would be a good time to get to know Hillary better too (lol)

    I’ll keep in touch.


  20. alex wilhelm

    December 18, 2006 at 7:06 pm

    Great to hear that you are doing well and staying positive. All of us are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Lucas sends his best too. Stay strong and work hard, the rest will fall in place.


    December 18, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Joel: Glad to hear your surgery went well and that you are starting to feel better. Hope you got the flowers Matt Powell and I sent. Don’t give the nurse too much lip, they can really cause pain if they want to.

    Johnny Utah
    (PS: I know a good driving school if you are interested)

  22. David Reed

    December 19, 2006 at 2:59 am

    Get better buddy, I know your sick of that hospital food, that should give you enough motivation to get moving! I know they don’t serve BEER either. Keep thinking positive this will be one of the biggest challenges of your life, YOU CAN DO IT MAN I know you can. I know you have a great supporting cast with your bro’s, your mom and your family. Your dad is there by your side too! Believe me there are so many people behind you and are wishing you the very best. Beers on me when you get out of that place. If I remember correctly I think Brandon Garcia had to go through the same thing and I believe he is walking. There’s hope, be strong, be determined, your mind is a powerful thing. Talk late

  23. Stacy Winegardner

    December 19, 2006 at 3:37 am

    Rockin’ Yoel I am so glad to hear that you are making such great strides on your road to recovery. You are in my thoughts daily, and if anyone can get through this it’s you!!
    Keep your head up, and remember that we are all here for you now and always!

  24. Amy Watson

    December 19, 2006 at 3:40 pm


    So shocked to hear about what happened! Good to see that you are in good spirit’s which is not suprising! You are consistantly in my thoughts and prayers…..


  25. Uncle George and Aunt Elna

    December 19, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    Bryan, Joey, and Erika…. Glad to hear Joey is doing so well. This is my first attempt to write without George!!!!!! It has taken me half the morning to get this far. I call George in Albany every other minute for tech support. Thanks for all your updates. It makes me feel that I am there. Before this crashes again I am going to submit it. Love and gentle hugs, Elna

  26. Caitlin and Matt

    December 20, 2006 at 2:01 am

    You are constantly in our thoughts and we hope you have a speedy recovery back in Denver. We wish the best for you, your family and Erika, and hope to see you in the near future!! Keep that bad-a@@ spirit alive…you are one of a kind!!
    Caitlin and Matt in Phoenix

  27. Katie Watson

    December 20, 2006 at 3:50 am

    We really all wanted to make a road trip to see you before you left…….we love you very much and we can not wait until you come back. Kinetics is behind you 100%…..please write and let us know how you are doing as we all think of you every minute of every day. Give Erika our love. Talk to you soon. (we still have your shake waiting for you at our trailer!)

  28. Leigha

    December 20, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    Joel and Erika,

    Boy this blog is a lifesaver! Schwab’s Denver office was just closed due to the blizzard and of course I thought of you guys right away, so I pulled up the site and read all about how you’re waiting before flying. I’m glad to hear things are moving right along. Craig sounds like a great place! Here’s something that might bring a smile to your faces – Lucas has been counting down the days until Christmas and the other day I told him it was 6 days away and in fact, it was 9 days away. Exasperated, he told me, “Christmas isn’t going to come until April 5th!” Take care, be safe, and know that you’re both in our thoughts and prayers.
    Leigha and Lucas

  29. Scottie Thom

    December 20, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    Hey Joel,
    We are envisioning you hiking and biking again, the picture of health, as always. Carolyn and I will keep positive thoughts going until we see you actively upright once again.
    Hang tough. You can and will do it!

    Scottie and Carolyn Thom

  30. Carolyn Hudson

    December 20, 2006 at 11:07 pm


    It sounds like you are making some great progress in your recovery. I have been checking in daily to hear all about you. You and your family are continuously in my thoughts and prayers!

  31. Dyan, Rick & Kayla

    December 21, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    Joel and Erika
    We are glad you are going to Craig from what we understand it’s a great place. Here in MN we can’t even get a trace of snow
    because Denver is getting it. We are still always thinking of you. Don’t forget to let us know when you feel like getting a phone call. The video thing is a great idea, easier and fun to watch. We
    will continue to check on your progress.

    Love and Hugs,
    Dyan, Rick and Kayla

  32. Joe Lundine

    December 21, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    Joel just want to give you all of my prayers. It sounds like you are doing much better. Never Give Up Man. We were golfing less then a year ago Crazy

    Get Well Bro

  33. Tony and Nancy Kouri, Mel & Josh

    December 21, 2006 at 10:58 pm

    Joel, Erika, Rory, Brian, Jessica, Phil and baby Yates, we want to express that our prayers and thoughts are with you and offer our help for anything you may need, please don’t hesitate to ask.
    Joel, all we can say is we believe that you have the fervor to work as hard as you will need to and along with the strong devotion of your family it will be easier. God Bless you all, and Merry Christmas. The Kouri’s

  34. Melissa Wood

    December 22, 2006 at 12:03 am

    Joel, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hope your recovery is speedy.


  35. Jessie Aufderheide

    December 22, 2006 at 3:23 am

    Joel and Erika,

    I would like to wish you both a Merry Christmas. It sounds like Joel has recieved a wonderful gift, knowing how many true friends you have. Flag will be a nice place to be for Christmas. There is probably as much snow there as we have in Jackson. We will be spending our first Christmas in Jackson this year. Everyone else will be doing the traveling. Keep up the good work in therapy. You can accomplish anything you want to Joel. We love you!
    Ben and Jessie Aufderheide

  36. Lee & Michael & Abby

    December 22, 2006 at 3:52 am

    Joel: Just talked to your Mom for an update.

    You would not believe how much snow we have! Our dog, Nina gets totally lost in it. We plodded through 4 ft. drifts to have a “Christmas Dinner” with Michael’s brother and friends last night.

    The snow has rearranged some of our plans to travel to Mesa to spend the holidays with my mother and uncle. We are going to try to get to Albuquerque by Friday night.

    All this is in aid of letting you know that we will be stopping to see you in Flagstaff on our way through. It will be worth your while because I’m bringing you Christmas cookies.

    We have been thinking of you constantly and have been updated daily by the Crestview Queens network. I have been praying (tho’ I’m not sure to whom) and got my mother in your corner immediately because I’m pretty sure she has a direct line.

    Keep getting better…and see you soon. Love to both you and Erica.

    Love, Lee, Michael & Abby

  37. John and Juli Begley

    December 22, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    Hello Joel
    You have been in our prayers and in the prayer chains of multiple churches in Oklahoma and Texas. God has certainly answered some of them and I believe his work is not completed yet. You are a very strong young man and John and I have ultimate faith that you will do well with what the Lord has planned for you. Thank you for sharing your sister-in-law and beautiful niece with us. It was wonderful to have them here for my graduation from UTHSCSA-SON. We will continue to pray for you and your family.
    Love and huge Hugs… John and Juli (Jessica’s mom and dad).

  38. marshall

    December 22, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    I just heard about the accident and found out today, from Brad, that this website was here for you. Sounds like you’re doing pretty well. Seems like you’ve got a lot of friends(go figure) that care for you. I hope you do well, I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts.


  39. Karen Mixon & Family

    December 23, 2006 at 2:07 am

    Unfortunately, Joel, I haven’t had the opportunity to meet you. I’m Erika’s Aunt Karen. I’ve heard alot about you, and am so glad Erika has you…any you, her. I was very sorry to hear about your accident, but am excited to hear about your recovery. We keep you in our payers daily. Keep up the good work. I look forward to meeting you some day.

    Karen Mixon

  40. Mel Benedict

    December 23, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Joel, well I will try this again, keep the faith brother and you are in our thoughts and prayers. mel

  41. Holly Bob, Andy, Liz

    December 25, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    Dearest Joey and Erika,
    It’s been a tough Christmas without you here. Looking forward to your rehab in Denver. We love and miss you both. Can’t wait to relax and have a beer or a glass of wine with you both. Remember Joel your dad was a patient man and you certainly will need a little of that in the strenuous days that you have ahead at Craig. I loved what your motto is-” no pain no gain” Keep your chin up we all know what a hard worker you are. We love you both.
    See ya soon.

  42. Jessie Aufderheide

    December 25, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    Merry Christmas Joel! Have a beautiful day with Erica and her family. We love you! Jessie and Ben

  43. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    December 25, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    Merry Christmas hope the hospital food was passable, I know
    the company will make it a good day.
    Joe and I are here alone like Ma & Pa Ketttle friends are coming
    later for dinner so the ham is in the oven. Talked to Justin this
    morning they made it to Santa Fe in the wee hours the roads
    thru Denver were the worst of the trip. Tucker was totally
    absorbed with all the cars he got so he was a happy camper.
    Jason’s wife Krista is due today so they were staying close to
    home. No signs of baby when I talked to them at noon, I hope she waits till at least tomorrow to be born to much competition with a Christmas birthday.
    Have a safe trip to Denver, see you when you get to Craig.
    JoAnn & Joe

  44. Suze Biehl

    December 25, 2006 at 11:39 pm

    Merry Christmas ! !

    Joel you are in our thoughts and prayers. It sounds like you will be having a fun trip tomorrow morning. I’m sure you are pretty anxious. We will be all keeping you in our prayers.

    I’m sure this is a Christmas you will never forget, just as you mentioned. I cannot imagine the food at Flagstaff Medical Center is even close to what your family meals have been in the past. When you get back here you will need to work your ass off so next year YOU will be preparing dinner for all of us, I’m sue we can find a hall where we will all fit….you have alot of friends that will be waiting to have your dinner. You are loved more than you will know. Have a fun (!) flight tomorrow, and we will keep this side of your mother held up in support. love Susan biehl

    joel, looking forward to seeing you later on this weeek in denver .Keep your positive attitude its more than half the battle,your family will be always there for your support. We are apart of the cresview family with you. our love and prayers are always with you Norm

    its nice the holidays will be bringing you home, keep positive and know that all of our thoughts are with you and yours. scott

    Stay- up Joel, mind over matter. I know the Rocky Mountain atmosphere will treat you the best for your rehab. Happy holidays and take it day by day. you’ll be up and around before you know it. – Justin

  45. Mel Benedict

    December 26, 2006 at 3:57 am

    Peace and Joy be with with you during your Journey. mel

  46. Rich & Mary Hiegel

    December 26, 2006 at 4:57 am

    Dear Joel,

    We wish you and Erika a Merry Christmas and are looking forward to visiting you at Craig. Reading your blog is very encouraging and you have our utmost admiration in your attitude. We certainly wish you well in your recovery and good luck with your rehab!

    Love ya!
    Rich and Mary

  47. Lauren & Nic

    December 26, 2006 at 6:20 am

    HEY JOEL!!!
    It’s us, your bro’s bro-in-law and your brother’s brother-in-law’s girlfriend. Check the 411: prayers and thoughts spread like mass wildfire here in NJ! From the news thus far we are VERY relieved for your improving condition and wish you a speedy recovery at Craig~

  48. Lacy

    December 26, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    My prayers are with you today as you head back to Colorado. I am sure that the entire state will be glad to have you back. Your strength and courage are inspiring Joel and I am extremely proud of all your progress. I hope that your transition to Craigs place goes well and that you have a very Happy Kwanzaa!

    Congrats on the denver donkies pulling off a win this weekend! The Texans pulled one off at the last second as well (which i am sure you are excited about).

    Take care,

  49. Adele and Steve Hansen

    December 26, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    We hope the trip to Denver is a quick easy one and that you can get ready for the workout ahead. We think of you lots, and wish you well.

  50. Kathy Brent

    December 26, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    Matt and Amy’s mom here to tell you that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks to Bob and to this wonderful site, I have been able to keep everyone in our support group that your mom belongs to updated with you continued progress. We are all pulling for you and know that with all the support of your incredible family and friends, you will always have a huge fan base! You come from a very strong family and it shows in the progress that you have already made. We are all very proud of who you are…a great tribute to your parents! Can’t wait to see you in Denver. Marilyn McMahon’s friend Gail that works at Craig said you drew the lucky straw as you will have Craig’s best doctor working with you. See you soon……….you remain in my heart and prayers……love, Kathy

  51. Nooner

    December 27, 2006 at 12:38 am

    Hey Joel, boy you couldn’t put the meaning of life any clearer than with your words about what’s important. Sure was good to get to know you a bit over here in the Rose City. Best wishes and thoughts for a ideal recovery.
    Peace be with you and yours,

  52. Leigha

    December 27, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Joel and Erika,

    The pix of the flight to Craig were great. It was so good to see you in Flag Monday and I wish you all the best in this next part of your journey. Lucas has been praying for you at every meal (he says, “I hope Joel and his new hospital are ok”) and I’ve certainly been saying my share of prayers for you as well. We’ll send some of Lucas’ artwork so you can decorate your new “pad” at Craig. Take care.
    With much love, Leigha, Alex and Lucas

  53. Joanne Slavin

    December 27, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    Hi from Bill Gilman’s girlfriend. We met at the funeral in St. Paul. Tried to get Karyl out to see you, but the snowstorm in Denver made it difficult. I know she had a good time with your mom in Colorado. Right now we are Frisco, trying to time our driving back to Minnesota around snow storms. And of course there is no snow in Minnesota.

    Glad you are at the Craig center – it sounds like the best place to recover.

    Say hi to the brothers and other Thurstons for us. And know that you have a ton of people thinking of you.

    Joanne Slavin

  54. Mark Engstrom

    December 27, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    Joel–great to see your armstrength and attitude! It pays to be young…We got to Denver via SunCountry on Christmas day; no refugees, but lots and lots of unclaimed bags. Looks like we need to hit the road tomorrow morning (Thurs the 28th) so we can miss the next big snow. Send us some when you’re done with it–Minnesota doesn’t look good with brown grass.

    Best wishes, the Engstrom/Slavins (friends of the Gilman/Thurstons)

  55. Christina and Tim Edstrom

    December 27, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Dear Joel and Family,

    Tim and I were so sad and shocked to hear about your accident from Phill, and you have all certainly been on our prayers and thoughts recently. I’m sure that with such terrific family and friends surrounding you to buoy you up, your recovery will be swift and complete.

    Warmest Regards,
    (Tim’s) Christina Edstrom

  56. Uncle George and Aunt Elna

    December 27, 2006 at 11:15 pm

    Hi, Joel…Welcome to Denver! Love the pictures, maybe your first and last trip in a Lear Jet. We had a nice Christmas here with Eric, Amy, Brendan, Olivia, Paul and Beth and the usual friends and in-laws. They have all headed home now and we are cleaing up the residue. We all said prayers for you and thought about you, Erika and your family a lot. Good luck with your therapy there, it sounds like you couldn’t be in a better place. Rory said your cell phone needs to be charged up, so we’ll give you a call later.
    Lots of love from Elna and George…

  57. Brandon Cislo

    December 28, 2006 at 6:05 am

    Hey Joel,

    Glad to see that you finally made it to Craig after the damn storm of the century in Denver! I’m actually jealous that you get to see snow. I came home to Michigan for the holidays and we don’t expect any of the white stuff. Might be the first time in my life I go an entire year without snow!!

    Well, I just wanted to wish you a happy New Year. Stay out of trouble, and as my favor to you, I’ll handle any drinking that you might need done! Take care of yourself and keep working your ass off!!

  58. Carmen and Jason Burch

    December 28, 2006 at 3:51 pm


    Jason and I have been checking your blog every day, and we’re rooting for you! Last night I watched our wedding video, with your infamous speech…it was perfect! I know you start your physical therapy today – You can do it! You are such a good friend and we love you.

    Jason and Carmen Burch

  59. Lynn Piorkowski

    December 28, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    Hi Erika and Joel,

    Jerry and I have been anxiously watching your progress and wishing you both the very best. Erika was always very special to us–just a super person, and I know that her support will be invaluable in your recovery. Keep up the good work and keep your spirits high. Know that you have many many people that are keeping you in their thoughts and prayers.

    Lynn and Jerry Piorkowski

  60. Sharon Bodle

    December 29, 2006 at 5:20 am

    Greetings Joel,

    This is Beth’s mom writing. Beth shared the blog information with us so we are able to follow your recovery. I have you on my prayer list and have added a “J” charm for you on my people I remember several times a day braclet. I am very glad you have Erika and your Mom there to give you encouragement, support, and hugs as required to keep your spirit up. Craig looks like a wonderful facility.
    (There are some of Beth & Paul’s wedding photos posted at our website if you care to view a few.)

    Warmest regards,

    Sharon Bodle

  61. Adele and Steve Hansen

    December 29, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    Hey Joel,

    We’re glad you are in Craig and didn’t have to wait through another snowstorm. The photo of the Rockies was amazing, especially because Minnesota has no snow. OT will probably tire you out, so it’s a good thing that the coming days are filled with football games (that will make TV watching bearable!) . You know there are plenty of family and friends here in cyberland to cheer you on as you gain your personal yardage.

    Adele and Steve Hansen

  62. Rich & Mary Hiegel

    December 29, 2006 at 6:18 pm

    Hey Joel,

    Glad to have you back in Colorado. Your are in really good hands at Craig. Don’t let them work you too hard. We are all pulling for as members of team Joel.

    Rich & Mary

  63. Joy Burden

    December 29, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    I remember how much you loved Colorado, but you sure chose an interesting way to return! Emily has kept me informed about your progress. Keep at it Big Guy, and keep that happy face on when you need it most. Those of us in beautiful Niwot wish you lots of success in your recovery. Big hug to you!

  64. Carla & Dave

    December 29, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    Dear Joey,
    We’ve been keeping up with your progress, your trip to Colorado – excellent pictures – & your strength during this journey! I’m glad you’re in Denver; Craig is an excellent hospital.
    We love your positive attitude & your strength – it makes the difference.
    Please know that you have been with us during this holiday season in our thoughts & our prayers. Our energy & support flow to you daily. Keep up the good work!
    Love you,
    Carla, Dave & Henry

  65. Angie O'Connell

    December 29, 2006 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Joel and Erika! I have been reading today about your progress over the past couple of weeks, and I am so glad to hear that the surgery went well and you are making strides. I just wanted to let you guys know that I have been thinking of you and praying for you ever since I heard about the accident, and my thoughts remain with you both.

    You are such wonderful people and I consider myself very lucky to have met both of you. Please let me know if there is anything that my husband and I can do to help you – I would be happy to do anything I possibly can.

    Continue to hang in there and remain strong – looking forward to seeing you again happy and healthy ~

    Angie O’Connell

  66. Kim Thuillez

    December 30, 2006 at 5:49 am

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. I’ll be sending positive energy your way often!
    Noel’s friend,

  67. Waylund and Audrey

    December 30, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Happy holidays Joel and Erika,
    Great to see everything going well in the great state of Colarado. With the looks of all that snow I hope you have not had to chain up your chair that often to get around. You are a lucky guy to have such a great family, girlfriend and friends to support you through the road to recovery. I have been thinking about you often and it has made me think that it is not what you have in life rather who you have in life. That is a very peacful thought. Anyway, it would be nice to see you wheeling around right now, but distance and time prevent that, so you keep on working hard and only good things will come from that. Positive thoughts too you buddy.

    Waylund and Audrey

  68. Bill Wilhelm

    December 30, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    Dear Joel and Erika,

    It was good to see you on Cristmas Day. You sure had a room full when we were all there. I bet you’re glad to get into the rehabilitation process at Criag, though. You and Erika are a special pair, indeed. Your love for each other is a beautiful thing. Keep on keepin’ on!

    Don’t forget that Erika will undoubtably be rooting for the Buckeyes on January 8. Gators…yummmm! Taste like chicken! Fear the Nut!


  69. Dyan, Rick and Kayla

    December 30, 2006 at 11:28 pm

    Glad to hear the trip to Craig went well. The pictures are awesome so keep them coming. It warms my heart that you were surrounded by so many family and friends during Christmas.
    Was Santa good to you? I’m liking the haircut but questioning the buzz. You know our thoughts are with you each and every moment of each and every day. Wishing you great success in your therapy and a speedy recovery. This blog really is the next best thing to being there with you. You are doing a great job.

    Love and big hugs
    Dyan, Rick and Kayla

  70. T Rock

    December 31, 2006 at 7:40 am

    joel, i’ve been thinking about you alot since the night we heard the news, and have been meaning to write but just have had a block of what to say. i have heard of people being able to walk again after tons of therapy. will you be in a wheelchair from here on out forever? what about work? can you do the job in a wheelchair? what about sking? is their some rig out their for people who can use their legs? the night we heard the news i was working on my watercolor class, and could barly consntrate i was thinking about you so much. my grades came out and i got a b in desin and 2 a’s in drawing and watercolor. i got a 97 on the written part of my last test, and a 95 on my last drawing for drawing class, which was me surfing in hawaii. no study sessions with any blonde college goers for thes finals this time around. i was much releaved when my classes were done. so for the last few weeks i’ve just been hanging out everyday. my classes start again on the 16th and i’ll have figure drawing, painting and ceramics. the latest on the chevy is is i got what they call windlace in, and a new celing in. i’m also in the process of applying to colleges for next yr. good luck in the snow and in rehab. we all know you’ll do good
    -T Rock

  71. Joanne Slavin

    January 1, 2007 at 4:36 am

    Joel – spent New Year’s Eve with Karyl and the boys. Even was entertained by Will’s mandolin – there is Thurston music talent!

    Sounds like you have been busy – keep up all the work and the best in 2007.

    Slavin/Engstroms and Gilman/Thurstons

  72. Amy French (Duroux)

    January 1, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Hey Joel

    Jessie shared your site with me and I am so glad to be able to read about your progress! Add me to ALL the folks that are sending you strengh and love. I live in Denver, when you are ready for visitors I’d love to come!

  73. Rich & Mary Hiegel

    January 2, 2007 at 1:23 am


    Just wanted to wish you a Happy New Year. Looking forward to your schedule so thast we can get down to visit. Thank your Dr. for me, the game was good, it would have been great if we won.

    Rich and Mary

  74. Joel Yates Vivian Kingsley

    January 2, 2007 at 1:59 am

    Dear Joel :
    The start of New Year briings hope to all of us and we hope it brings to you the art of recovery you wish for yourself.
    We just got home from Pa. three days ago from Pa. visiting our family and enjoying every minute of it.
    Today is so beautiful and I think of the times we have spent together at Thanksgiving because there was so much laughter and munching. I won’t forget that delicious drink you made for me. It had a funny name and wonder if everyone else knows about it. Dave and Jan sure put on a feast and that is special.

    For myselfI we will be going to the doctor for another nerve block fo that Sciatica which has taken away the pain for the 1st time in 10 months.January 8th. They sure do fantastic things to make a wrong come out right. We wish you the very same thing Joel
    You have a way of making a stamp on our memory that this is one person we would like to kepp. Keep up the exercises and the reading and you will win in ways you never imagined.
    Much love and affection from Vivian and Bill Kingsley

  75. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    January 3, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Joel & Erika,
    Enjoyed our visit with you both and Criag certainly looks like
    what you need for your recovery.
    Like the new hair, I thought you guys shaved your heads
    in highschool for some football game.
    Just to let you know I took a nice hot shower for you this
    morning, I am learning from you and your new insights every
    time I read your journal.
    Now that the holidays are over I expect to hear all about
    your rehab.
    JoAnn & Joe

  76. Emily (Burden) Perrotto

    January 3, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Hey Joel!
    Love the new Do! Glad to see you’ve had some visitors. No one better to shave your head than Auggie and Matt – it must have been pure comedy. Here’s a big sunshine-filled shout out from Florida to you and ‘Team Joel!’ Keep up the hardwork – you’re an inspiration to us all.

  77. Bob Lindbloom

    January 3, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Been thinking of you since I heard about the accident. In classic Joel form you are still smiling and taking this minor set back in stride. It is inspiring to read your entries and see that regardless of your physical injuries you are healthy in mind and spirit. We are thinking of you daily and praying for your speedy recovery.

    Happy New Year!


  78. Brad

    January 3, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Nice hair cut Joel. I like it. Keep up the good spirits!
    Mckinney out

  79. Brian Dietzen

    January 4, 2007 at 4:13 am

    Hey Joel,
    It’s been a long time, and I wish i was better about staying in touch, but anyhow it’s great to read about your outlook on your journey thus far, and I’ve got to say I’m astounded. Your attitude is an inspiration, and I’m glad to see all the pictures of your smiling face. You and your family are in my and Kelly’s prayers, and we look forward to seeing you next time we’re in town.
    muchlove from LA!
    – Brian (your Cubscout Pal forever)
    PS. Great work on the site Phil! I look forward to seeing all the progress in the weeks to come.

  80. Joy Burden

    January 4, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Wheelies? You are such an animal… It’s good to see you smiling and sweating, at the same time. I adore people who can multi-task. Stay tough, stay positive, and keep your feisty attitude. You look good! Joy

  81. Joe Mooney

    January 5, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Although miles distance us and names are not familiar, I am certain the connection from the heart is both strong and thundersous. Both my wife and I know you only through Erika’s father, (Bill) but we wanted to extend our prayers today and in the coming months. From the great white north of AK. we wish you God speed and look forward to seeing you out on some river fishing the great Ak Kings. Sincerely, Joe and Sole

  82. Jonathan Iams

    January 5, 2007 at 5:16 am

    Joel and Erika,

    The two of you are in my thoughts and prayers everyday!! You are both such amazing people and truly an inspiration. I will continue praying and can’t wait to see you two back in beautiful Tempe, Arizona.

    Jon Iams

  83. Average Joe

    January 5, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Diggin’ the new haircut and the wheelies!! Your positive attitude is an inspiration! Here’s to a quick and full recovery. By the way, Craig is like a mile from my house. When I get back from Flagstaff I’ll be by often for visits. Keep up the hard work!!
    Avg. Joe

  84. Matt Watson

    January 5, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Nice work in the video. I am in Sterling at a wildfire class, but when I get back I will come down and my be we can watch some football. Keep up the hard work, I am proud of you (Romeo).

  85. Susan and Sandy

    January 7, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Joel and Erica
    It was good to see you yesterday if only for a short time. It sure looks like you are improving every time I visit. Your attitude still continues to amaze me. I am sure that is why you are doing so well.
    Sandy is sorry he did not see you but with a cold coming on he thought the waiting room was a better place.
    I guess the blowing snow closed 36 for more than two hours . This has been quite a winter so far and the weatherman from “the hill” says we are not done yet.
    Stay strong, with love, Susan Mac

  86. Alice Johnson

    January 8, 2007 at 1:33 am

    Hey Joel & Erika,
    We check in here as often as possible to see how things are going. I’m sure we’re only getting the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of things…(you guys are probably WAY too young to know about the Reader’s Digest micro-version of books from way back. They were like 4 novels crunched down to fit into one hardback… ANYWAY…)…I’m sure reality is much more challenging than the brief glimpses we’re getting. Nevertheless, we are still in awe of this whole journey and how you seem to be working your way through it. Pretty amazing…. I’m sure Boo considers us completely inferior companions in your absence, but he does manage to fuss if we’re later than usual checking in on him at night! Today we were outside and he came over to visit in the front yard with the rest of the cats on this side of the street. Boo had a nice roll in the dirt wallow that our cats have created in our front yard (nice!) and only seemed satisfied once his midnight black coat had been completely transformed to dusty brown. (Yikes!! I’ll check for dirt in the house later!!). He actually sat for a while with one of my less snotty cats (why oh why can’t just ONE of my cats be as sweet-natured as yours!) before deciding that it was time to head back… You’ll be interested to know that his tv viewing habits have changed – (especially now that none of his teams are in the play-offs)… He has shifted to HGTV in the evenings so hopefully he’s not coming up with redecorating ideas to surprise you! As long has he doesn’t start watching Martha Stewart on a regular basis I think you’re safe!

    You know where we are….let us know if there is anything you need!
    Alice, David, and Emily

  87. Mur Gilman

    January 8, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    I have been reading your blog with great concern and interest. I am amazed and impressed with your progress. . . your attitude is so impressive and, it is thought provoking, putting life’s little hassles into perspective.

    Keep up the hard work. I know you will have down days but that may be just your body saying “back off, I need a rest”. A little less activity will allow your body to repair and adapt to the training. The next day will be better.

    I do want to admit that this is the first blog I have read or particpated in. Thanks for the opportunity.

    With healing thoughts,
    Mur Gilman (Gillie’s sister)

    PS Wishes of support for Erika and Rory as well.

  88. Robin and Dave ( flight nurses)

    January 9, 2007 at 2:34 am

    Hello Joel and Erika,

    Love the Blog…We are home in AZ and talking about you and many of the patients that we cared for during our Holiday Tour. Robin starts teaching but keep an eye out for me at Craig. I’ll keep an eye out for another new haircut. Work hard and know that you are in our daily thoughts…

    Peace to Our World, Robin and Dave ( flight nurses )

  89. Dan Zatkovich

    January 10, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Hey Joel. Only hung out with you once or twice, but since I’m good friends with Noel, I’ve been following your blog since day 1.

    Check out you grabbing my ass here.

  90. Walter Bruno

    January 10, 2007 at 4:30 am

    Joel : What was i thinking when I triedd to drive my minivan thru the snow storm on I 70 out of Denver. I kept thinking at least Joel is not stuck in this Sh–. Or why could this snow not hit the bowl in Flag? I am so proud of the progress you are making and remember the free waterski lesson for you this summer. Work hard and non bastardus carborandum. This is Latin but in English it means dont let the bastards wear you down. Love the Brunos

  91. Mary Ellen Adams

    January 10, 2007 at 10:07 pm


    I just want to convey good wishes for your recovery. I don’t know you, but I know you have to be a great person because Erika has high standards! I am in Terre Haute, IN, and am a retired professor in the program that Erika’s dad now coordinates at Indiana State University. Although progress may seem slow, it sounds as if you are making giant steps! Just keep it going.

  92. Todd Lammers

    January 11, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Joel Dude –

    Even though its been years since the Crestview days, I am still keeping tabs on you through the MOM network. (And now the Blog network). Its great to hear how your doing. I was so encouraged to hear of you visit to Craig and your recovery thus far. Kicking ass my friend! Way to go.

    I have concluded that you’re in fact the strongest / toughest guy I’ve known to date. And your recovery here puts you firmly #1 on the list!! Screw the guy who can lift 1,008lbs ( Seriously, this is very tough stuff. Im super proud of you. It seems you and your bro’s were always able to power through anything up on the hill (Crestview) when we were growing up. Especially you man. Its great to see your smile and positive attitude + all the support you have. What a great Blog !!!

    Perhaps I will be able to come catch a Game Day Sunday!

    Many a growler of lefthand still awaits. Don’t you worry..

    Keep it coming my friend!

    Todd Lammers.

  93. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    January 11, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Joel & Erika,
    Great progress the videos of you sitting up and
    driving your chariot up the sidewalk are great.
    Glad Erika got to spend time with her friend we
    gals need that.
    Can’t wait to hear about your trip to the stock show
    and what new maneuvers you will learn there.

  94. Lori Hudson

    January 11, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    I’ve been checking your blog daily and I’m impressed with your progress. We all face challenges and have choices how we handle them. I’d say you’re successful in your approach–get up, attack the day, reflect and rest. Keep up the hard work!

    Oh, by the way…where’s your hardhat? That new haircut won’t protect anything!

    Lori (Kinetics Safety)

  95. Dominic Lovely

    January 12, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    Just got wind of your blog and am so excited to see how well your doing. Keep up the awesome work and great attitude. My thoughts have been with you and as soon as your ready I think a Crestview sledding session is in order. I’m not sure if you’ve heard but there is actually a legitiment bar located on Larkspur Rd. now. Perhaps I can convince the owner of the fine establishment to throw us old school Crestview kids a reunion.

    Keep up the hard work,

  96. Todd Lammers

    January 13, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    P.s – you gotta love the old school crestview sledding. Remember the one that streached all the way down Larkspur. How did we ever come up with that stuff. Seemed like a mile long.

    Again, great progress Joel, Welcome to the East Side!

    Get that reunion going Dom. 🙂

    Todd Lammers

  97. Keith and Trudy Dietzen

    January 13, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Joel:

    We have a tremendous amount of admiration for you and your attitude – but that’s no surprise. You’ve always been a great guy who everyone likes. What is becoming apparent is also the kind of courage you possess.

    You have a whole lot of people who are thinking about you and praying for you as you answer this huge challenge. We are pulling for you as you continue to move forward.

    Please keep the blogs coming. We know we are reading chapters of what is an amazing story.

    Take care,

    Keith and Trudy

  98. Uncle George and Aunt Elna

    January 13, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Hi Joel
    Great news about your move! Mom’s just can’t help themselves when it comes to nesting. Too bad Erika is gone for a short time as George was all excited about trying to write an E-mail that when she read it to you, you would never guess it was us. I guess he really enjoys a challenge. We usually write together, but I’m on my own today. Keep up the good work.

    love G and E

  99. colleen

    January 14, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    Joel and Erika,
    I’m thinking about you two. I copied your blog onto my computer & showed the pictures to my students here in Honduras. They thought Joel’s wheelie was pretty cool, and wanted me to make sure to tell him to get stronger. Erika, they thought you were bonita.

    Keep up your positive attitude, and I’ll continue to send you good thoughts.

  100. Kathy Brent

    January 15, 2007 at 5:34 am

    Joel…………you know you are amazing. We are hooked on your site…………..every day we read it and we are inspired by your words…..we are the ones that should be making you feel better and yet, you are the one making us feel better…………..thank you for being who you are……we are so PROUD of you!!!
    I know you don’t know all of the people in the support group that we belong to with your mom, but I would like to bring some of us down to see you some weekend if that would be alright with you. Matt just got back into town and I know he wants to see you when he can. Keep up the great attitude and am glad you are getting some rest……..take care and you remain in our thought and prayers, Kathy, Matt and Amy

  101. Beaumont

    January 16, 2007 at 5:07 am

    Get better so you can kick my ass. Literally. You’re in my prayers.

  102. Karen Copperberg

    January 16, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Joel – Charlie, Andrew, Stephen, Lindsay & I are all rooting for you – you have such a work ethic, that I know you will be successful in overcoming any tough days, and still end up with a smile. Thanks for the great note – you and your family are in our prayers…..hang in there with your rehab! You are in an awesome place.

  103. Kate Nicholas

    January 16, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Joel

    I have been keeping tabs on your through the old crestview network and I was happy to find this website. You look really good, I am so very impressed!! I am keeping you in my thoughts along with >11,000 others. Keep up that positive attitude, you are an inspiration.

  104. Stephanie Neal

    January 16, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Joel- Carmen Burch called me with the news..Of course I knew you were a great guy when I met you at their wedding but seeing this site and the positive spirit that is coming through makes me wish we would of had more time to become friends. My thoughts are with you and your loved ones! Good Luck!

  105. David Reed

    January 17, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    It was great to see you again Joel, everyday comes new challenges, new goals and new sensations, things to really look forward to. With your drive and your attitude anything can happen! I’ll let you know about the Nuggets. I know you have a lot of support but if you need anything I’m right down the road.

  106. Dan Naylor

    January 18, 2007 at 7:51 am


    It is great to see you progressing and staying positive through your recovery. My family and I wish you all the best in the New Year.


  107. Emily (Burden) Perrotto

    January 18, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Hey Yoel!
    Looking good guy! I’m very impressed with your ability to go up and down that ramp…and backwards! Man, that must a be exhausting. Just think of the guns your builiding up! Sending my best to you, Erika, and the family. I read your posts everyday – keep ’em coming.

  108. Joy Burden

    January 18, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Joel,
    In spite of the fact we haven’t seen each other for years, I keep thinking of you. I enjoy your daily blog, and am so impressed with your attitude. You’re a very busy guy down there at Craig; keep at it. Hey, cut your mom some slack about the nesting instinct-your turn will come some day when you have little ones of your own! Happy thoughts to you…

  109. Ron Laughery

    January 19, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    It would appear that you have put together quite a fan club through all the letters and notes people have been writing on the blog. Blessings come in strange forms sometimes, don’t they? It was great seeing you last weekend and I look forward to hearing about all your hard work and accomplishments, especially now that I better know what you’re up to! We all really appreciate your postings every day. They not only teach us something about the road to hope and recovery from a really tough situation, they also remind us of your strong character and, to be sure, great sense of humor! Thanks for the inspiration, Joel!

  110. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    January 22, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Sounds like things are really progressing for you, it’s
    wonderful that you have been moved to the East wing
    of the hospital.
    I expect to see a six pack video now that your stomach
    muscles are coming back.
    Glad Erika is back, enjoy the days you have together.

  111. Dean Theodorakos

    January 23, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Just wanted to let you know you are in our thoughts & prayers. Glad to see you are making progress!

    Take care,

    Dean & Dele Theodorakos (Eric’s in-laws).

  112. Shona Coelho

    January 23, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    You have already come so far in your recovery! Your persistence and hard work are really paying off! I just love your site and how we can see your daily feelings, challenges, ect. Keep up the great work! (by the way, this is Jessica’s bridesmaid, the blonde one) 🙂

  113. Matt Boisen

    January 24, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Hey Joel
    I’m a friend of Erika’s from Peace Corps. I’ve just read your most recent blog and couldn’t help but be touched by you overwhelming good spirit and positive outlook. It’s people like you that over come these unforeseeable obstacle life throws in our paths. God bless you and the challenging journey that you are on.
    P.S. I too have had the honor of sampling some of Erika’s private Alaskan salmon stash while I was passing though Tempe on a motorcycle trip. That salmon is healing power for the soul! I hope you washed it down with a good glass of red wine just for finishing touches.

  114. Chris Van Kirk

    January 25, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    When I read your comments I can’t help but think that desire and perseverance can overcome just about anything.

    As you move forward with your recovery remember that blessings come in all sizes. Cherish each and every one (like the abdomen muscle recovery). Continue using them to reach the next plateau.

    I miss your bright and shining face.


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  116. Robin and Dave (flight nurses)

    January 26, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    Hello Joel and Erika,

    I really enjoy reading the blog about your progress. Dave;s off flying and I’m teaching. We talk about you often and keep you in our daily prayers. I’m glad to hear Erika is back with you. One must have one’s love close by. I will keep in touch and you keep up the hard work.


  117. David Reed

    January 29, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Joel, I’ll try to get tickets to the Crush game for March 4. I believe its on Sunday. I will give you a call this week. Have a nice day.

  118. Emily (Burden) Perrotto

    January 31, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Good Afternoon!
    Well it’s a chilly 72 degrees here today in Florida. Brr… I’m just kidding. Although I think my blood has significantly thinned out since we’ve moved here.
    I can’t wait for the big announcement that your brace is off. I’ve got my fingers crossed! Have a spectacular Birthday weekend and be sure to eat lots and lots of cake.

  119. Emily (Burden) Perrotto

    January 31, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    I wanted to share a little inspiration with you from a note my Uncle once wrote.I’d like to pass on the thoughts and feelings to you and Erika because you both embody its message:
    Joel & Erika,
    “The world is now before you…I hope this serves as a reminder of the richness and diversity that awaits.They often say the task of life is to place optimism over experience.I believe your grace, enthusiasm,and confidence will carry you toward wonderful new heights,new experiences and special places…where optimism and experience join, and peace and clear thought it’s offspring.I know you will always be surrounded by good friends and remain of beacon of inspiration…for you both unmask goodness at the crossroads.The world is smiling Joel and Erika…in anticipation of your touch.”

  120. Wayne, Jenn, and Will

    January 31, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    WOW! You have been relentless in your recovery; a true inspiration. We can’t wait to hear when your brace comes off. What a party that will be! You have been in our thoughts in prayers on a daily bases. It sounds like you have the best support system a guy could ask for. Hopefully we will get to see you real soon but will talk to you this weekend. Have a great Super Bowl weekend.
    Wayne Jenn and Will Brooks

  121. Colin Plater

    February 1, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Hey man I hope all is progressing well with you and belive it or not you are missed on the job site, I know you could give a hoot about NAU and that project. Terry and Neil send there greetings and good wishes. Best of luck to you and you are in my thoughts and prayers.


  122. Robin and Dave ( flight nurses)

    February 2, 2007 at 5:42 am

    Hello Joel,
    You look great without the brace. Dave and I are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Looks like you are working hard and starting to have some fun on the outings. And your friendly shadow…what a cutie…kids keep it simple and just hanging out with them can be uplifting. How much longer will you be at Craig?
    Take care and cheers to Erika,
    Robin and Dave

  123. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    February 4, 2007 at 8:11 am

    HI Joel,
    Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!
    Stop whining 30 is a piece of cake wait till it’s
    60 like I’m facing next week.
    It sounds like you are getting to be the man about
    town with your games and movie etc. keep it up.
    Love your shadow and I think you enjoy him also.
    Enjoy your day and the game.
    JoAnn & Joe

  124. David Reed

    February 4, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Hey Joel
    Happy Birthday!!! Hope you had a great time at the game. Sorry I missed your b-day. Give me a call whenever you need a chauffeur. Talk later

  125. Joanne

    February 8, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Happy 30th – We Minnesotans are too cold to leave our houses – but know that birtday wishes were sent your way. Glad you got to see the Avalanche. A very tough ticket – I took our kids a few years back and paid more than even a rock concert ticket costs. But we got to see Patrick Roy – so that was worth the price of admission.

    Enjoy your last month at Craig – and feel good about all the progress. When we were at Frisco Nordic Center over Christmas, we saw a woman who drove up in her Subaru, transfered to her wheel chair, transferred to her adapted cross-country ski equipment, and then got in an impressive workout. She then got herself back into the car and took off. Completely on her own. She was well known at the Nordic Center so she obviously gets out alot more than we do.

    Your Aunt Karyl has the most ski mileage this winter – wish I could brag a little – but my message to exercise (in the spirit of Bill G) is a little tough when it is 20 below zero.

    Glad you have such a wonderful group of friends and family to be there – will work on getting your aunts and cousins out.

  126. Randy Locke

    February 8, 2007 at 9:53 pm


    I stumbled across your site by accident, but I see you want to see a Crush game I am President of Club Crush, the Crush booster club. The first home game is March 04, and we always tailgate before hand. The board would like to invite you and a guest to hang with us, and let us treat y’all to a game. Send me an email so we can try to work something out.


  127. Arlene

    February 11, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Hey Joel

    Ralph Frye pointed me to your site – know that your colleagues totally support you! The site is awesome and so are you.(and your Erika!) I’ve never met you but may have helped with your Oracle issues…enjoy that Dodge!

  128. swedishfish

    February 28, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Hey Joel! I know your brother from the Scandinavian and journalism programs at CU. I’ll add you to my blogroll if you don’t mind – awesome site and incredible willpower. I look forward to reading about more good news! /Jen

  129. Melissa Wood

    March 4, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    You are a fighter and have a great attitude towards life. Keep making strides and continue to grow stronger and stronger. You are in all of our thoughts as you continue your recovery.


  130. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    March 5, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Sorry to hear you are on bed rest but time spent
    resting now will prevent problems later.
    Saw baby Ella yesterday and she is getting
    bigger by the minute. She still likes to eat and
    sleep but is having more lucid moments.
    Tucker seems to have accepted her pretty well
    but vies for Mom and Dads attention.

  131. Kathy Brent

    March 10, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Hang in there guy!! We’re focusing and sending good energy to you … you’ll be up and moving again soon. California is only days away!

    Love, Kathy and Vern

  132. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    March 15, 2007 at 6:01 am

    Glad to hear you are moving on to the next stage in your
    recovery. I am sure there will be challenges, but you have
    lots of good tools to cope and conquer. Keep up your
    JoAnn & Joe

  133. Joy Burden

    March 24, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Hi Joel.
    We were in Scottsdale last weekend for a wedding, and I thought about you. I assume your days are becoming more frustrating, and it’s certainly to be expected. Consider your limitations to be temporary, and deal with them as positively as you have in the past. As you say, the sun will come up tomorrow (hopefully not as hot as when we were there last week), and we all will need to deal with our various unfortunate situations. You have been a beacon of hope for a lot of people; keep that light shining…
    With good thoughts, Joy

  134. Steve

    March 27, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Glenn Domman Method

  135. Bill Yates

    March 29, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Hey Joel,
    I don’t mean to weird you out, but if your father is Bob, your grandfather is “Pete” and your Mom is Rory — then I’m your cousin Bill. I’m sorry we’ve never met, but I was surfing the net and your site came up. I’m just now trying to figure out what happened to you. Please know that your distant relatives join all the others in wishing you well and remembering you in prayer. God’s healing power be with you!

    Bill Yates

  136. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    April 1, 2007 at 5:57 am

    Hi Joel & Erika,
    Sounds like you are settling in to your new life in Arizona,
    and what you haven’t gotten settled Rory will.
    That’s great you can get assistance from ASU, and the
    bus is a great option. Sounds like lots of new options will
    be entering your life.
    Hope you can find a car that is what you want and
    fits you well.
    I assume you are watching the final four games, there
    have been some good finishes.
    Baby Ella is growing and Tucker still thinks she is OK,
    but he mostly ignores her.
    JoAnn & Joe

  137. Keith Kindle

    April 2, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Checking on your journey Joel. May your incident bring new positive opportunities for you and others. Good Luck in the Valley of the Sun. Stay cool.

  138. Colin Plater

    April 3, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Joel – now that you are back in AZ next time I see the drinks are on me. I still owe you a few (maybe a few dozen) from the NAU days. Glad you are doing better and I am sure you will excel at whatever you put your mind too. You are an inspiration…


  139. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    April 9, 2007 at 6:04 am

    Hi Joel,
    Well your picture made it into the Longmont Times Call last
    Thurs. what a surprise.
    Easter was fine here we had an indoor Easter Egg Hunt
    for Tucker since it was 35 degrees and snowing outside.
    Joe and I are off to San Fran on Wed. to finally see
    baby Anika.
    Have a good week.
    JoAnn & Joe

  140. Joanne Slavin

    April 16, 2007 at 6:22 am

    Joel – Hi from Bill and Karyl’s friend Joanne. Karyl and Cheri (another good friend) put together a great Greek dinner for my birthday so we got to catch up with the Thurston/Gilmans. Karyl is off to another cruise – after her Mexico trip so moss is not growing under her feet. We still have Bill’s bike in our garage and are looking forward to spring finally coming to Minnesota.

    When I read your blog, I was excited to hear about the Orange Honda Element. That was the color we had – and ended up trading it because it had a stick shift and my kids kept complaining about it. It was a wonderful car and beautiful color so I think you are making a good choice. Great sound system too! Easy to load stuff in and a ton of stuff fits in it. And I don’t even work for Honda.

    Enjoy spring in the desert – and remember that Erika might like a trip to a Minnesota lake when Arizona gets really hot in August.

  141. JoAnn & Joe Augustaitus

    April 19, 2007 at 6:00 am

    HI Joel,
    Back from San Fran had a good trip the kids are growing
    like kids do. The flowers are all in bloom even the roses.
    Spent a lot of time in the hotel pools the kids just loved
    Saw lots of Elements on the road in San Fran looks like
    a popular car out there, I haven’t seen that many around here.
    Glad you are getting a routine to your life, even though
    some days are hard.
    JoAnn & Joe

  142. Bill Yates

    April 27, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Joel,
    Hope your healing and recovery are coming along well. I happened to read your “Odd Encounters” of April 17 about the women you met at the bus stop. Fascinating! You’re right. Those are the only two possible paths in this life and I can remember when I was at that same crossroads you mentioned. I used to think that I was in control of my life, too, and it was up to me to decide what was right and wrong for me. I’m so glad I found a better way that did not lay that impossible burden on my shoulders. Peace!

    Cousin Bill

  143. Joy Burden

    May 15, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Hi Joel. Looks like a good trip to Boston! It’s a great city; Emily lived there for a couple years, and I loved to visit. The Element looks fun and functional. Is it a girl or boy car? “Elsie” Element or “Edgar” maybe? It’s really pretty in Colorado now, as you probably know. The golf course beckons…
    Take good care. Joy

  144. Joanne Slavin

    June 1, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Just talked with Karyl and she said to check out the bike video – very cool. We have been riding Bill’s tandem bike some this summer and remembering all the good times we had biking with the Thursday/Gilmans.

    A bike – freedom!

    Glad that you are back working and getting out of town – the Napa trip sounds great.

  145. Kathy Brent

    July 4, 2007 at 10:58 am

    It is fabulous being on your blog again. I haven’t had computer service for some time now, glad to be back. I had dinner with your mom about 3 weeks ago and she filled me in on some stuff but obviously not on your recent plans. I want you to know that I support you 100%! You do have to go and give it your all or else you would always regret not having the chance. Half the battle is believing you can do something……… have that part of the battle won. I know exactly where Athens, TX is as that is where my mother was born. That is a good sign. I am so glad your mom is with you and hope she will make the move with you. Family is an important part of all of our lives. We all understand that sometimes we don’t need or want them, but when we do, they are always there for us. I just got back from Clay Barnett’s wedding in Vail. It was so healing to be back with my “football family”….it has been over a hear and a half since I have been with most of them and the time together was wonderful. It helps the soul. I know you mom believes in you and will support you where ever you are…………have a safe trip and continue to write, Joel…………… have a wonderful talent……….I hope someday you will be able to publish your writings…………….they would help many people. Focus on you and what you have to do to walk……I believe you will walk again as well…………………take care of yourself….you are an amazing person…..thank you for sharing all that you have with us……it adds so much value to our lives…………, Kathy Brent (Watson)

  146. Joanne Slavin

    July 20, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Spent last Sunday with Karyl and Thurston at Jay and Cheri’s lake place. Sounds like the Thurston girls came through again for Karyl – Elna and your mom were so much help to get the Glenwood house up and running.

    Hope that Texas treats you well. Say hi your mom – and hope her house gets ready – although she obviously does quite well on the road.

  147. Stephanie Summers

    July 26, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Hey Joel, Remember me? I was never lucky enough to be your tech, but I was lucky enough to get to know you. I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about you. Reading your blog is pretty inspirational. I hope everything continues to go well in Texas and with your recovery. I still bring the Nalgene every day to work.
    Thinking of you,

  148. Jessica Leatherwood

    August 17, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Joel! Wow is all i can say! you are truely a remarkable talented amazing guy with so much to offer and I honestly am in awe of your determination! I am soo gratefull to have met you and cant wait to hear all about your progression and now get to read about it. Thank you for allowing me to be your friend and HEY if you have any questions about anything I will try my best to answer whatever they are! Remember God does Love you and He Has a Huge Plan and PURPOSE for your life! Keep pushing for the goal that you are GOING to reach! Keep up the great work….

    Your new Athens Friend,

    Philipians 3:14
    “I am reaching for the Highest goal, That i might recieve a Prize, PRESSING onward to God to reach what he has for me in life.”

  149. Joy Burden

    September 6, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Joel. I just got home after sitting on a hay bale while talking to your mom and Phil. We were at Niwot’s “famous” Rhythm on the Rails extravaganza. (cocktails and concert). Your mom looked great-she always does with a beer in her hand… It was good to see her again, it’s been much too long. She filled me in on your latest accomplishments, and I filled her in on my latest struggles regarding my mobility issues. I told her how your writings have become an inspiration to me. Yes – even at my age, I have looked to you and the strength you’ve exhibited. Anyway, I want you to know I think of you, and am continuing to be so impressed with your daily life’s struggles and accomplishments. Jeez – you are SO inspirational. I know you’ve heard it before, but you really are an incredible guy. Stay well… and someday I would like to have a tall, cold, frosty beverage with you, and talk about how wonderful life really is, in spite of the shortcomings that come our way. Big hug big guy.
    P.S. Your mama and brother were so darn cute tonight! Joy

  150. Jessie Aufderheide

    January 6, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Happy New Year! I’m glad you’re happy to be back in CO! We love you!
    Ben and Jessie

  151. Bill Yates

    July 28, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    “Guide me in your truth and teach me Your ways, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you … Turn to me and show me Your compassion, for I am lonely and troubled in heart.” Psalm 25, Old Testament

  152. Jennifer

    May 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm


    I am so sad to hear you are so down and hurting so badly. All I can say is that it sucks when people tell you things will get better and it sounds so cliche, but what I learned from my experience is that when all hope seems lost and things don’t seem worth it, that is when we are surprised by the goodness of life. I am so thankful that despite how you have been feeling, you took the time to be such a key part in our special day. We love you Yoeler!

  153. tim martin

    December 20, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Joel, It’s Tim, the old coot you met at Coot Lake. The remote controlled sailboat is on it’s way. The guy’s were all for you building it. John Fitzsimmons is the owner and Steve Bryan is doing the shipping. These are guys I worked with at South Shore Marina on Greenwood Lake, NJ. They wish you well. The ripples go out, not only from boats; you never know where they might wind up. This boat is made for kick-ass winds and I suspect you are the kick-ass guy to finally get it in the water. I will write after the holidays when we, Judy and I, get back in town. I hope you enjoy the season, Tim.

  154. Woytek, Kelly, and Allison

    June 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Joel,

    This is Woytek, Kelly, and Allison from the CU Physical Therapy Program. We’ve been trying to email you, but none of our emails are going through. We just wanted to say thank you for working with us on the community volunteer program. We really enjoyed learning about you and your journey. We also really enjoyed going on a hike with you and meeting on campus to chat about daily things and how you live here in Colorado. Once again, thank you so much for your participation with us. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, and keep in touch if you want to meet up again!

    Woytek, Kelly, and Allison

  155. Ronie K Pounds

    February 3, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I’ve Liked

  156. Rose

    August 19, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Excellent site. Lots of helpful info here. I am sending it to several pals ans also sharing
    in delicious. And naturally, thank you for your sweat!

  157. Maurice Blais

    March 24, 2015 at 5:21 am

    You are in our thoughts and prayers. Attitude is everything so they say, and you are one person with an incredible attitude towards life!
    Remember that lots of positive thoughts are being sent your way, and your frends can’t wait to see your smile in person! We love you!
    Maurice and Jocelyne

  158. Jess

    May 12, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Hi luv!! I’ve been thinking of you and thought of your blog. I was hoping to see some up to date stuff since we really don’t know how you’re doing in Greeley. Many of our friends ask about you and it would be nice to send them to your blog for updates. Keep writing! You’re a fantastic writer! Xoxo- Jess


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