car accident

My husband’s uncle, Bernard “Butch” Hein was a cattle rancher in Forsyth, Montana. Butch came into ranching by birth, coming from a long line of ranchers. Butch raised cattle, and since I have been able to eat and later buy some of the beef he raised, I can tell you that it tasted excellent. I think most of us thought that the iconic rancher would always be there, but on October 13, 2023, that all came to a tragic end, when Uncle Butch was killed in a car accident. It was such a shock to so many people. You are never prepared to lose a loved one, but when it happens to someone who was still so full of life, it is even more of a shock.

Butch never really wanted to be anything else but a rancher, but of course, when he graduated from high school the Vietnam War was in full swing, and Butch was drafted into the Navy. That era was a tough time for a lot of people. Many people felt like the United States was in a war that was a “no-win situation,” and we should get out of it. There were protests and a whole lot of hate going around. There were people who dodged the draft by running to Canada. Not Butch though. He and his older brother, Eddie both served. Eddie was in the Army. The brothers served honorably, and both came home. They loved their country, and we are so proud of both of them.

After his discharge, Butch came home, met, and married Bonnie Wertz. They started a family, and for a time everything was great. They had a son and were expecting a daughter, but Bonnie was sick. They hoped to have their daughter and get treatment to save Bonnie. Unfortunately, Butch lost both of them. Then, it was just Butch and his son, Scott. Still, they were together, and when he grew up, Scott got married to Terri Wiederrick. They had three beautiful children, Laura, Carson, and Lindsey. Scott and his son Carson both wanted to be in ranching, and now, they have taken over the ranch, which is bittersweet for them. Their dream was to take over the ranch someday, but the plan was to be when Butch retired, not this way. Now, the ranch belongs to Scott, but there is something missing. His dad was supposed to be there in an advisory capacity if nothing else.

Scott and his family aren’t the only ones who feel the loss. Nor is the rest of our family. Butch used to go to the same hang out most mornings to meet up with friends for coffee and breakfast. I’ve heard that there are people in that group who just can’t go anymore. It just hurts too much. I suppose some of those people will eventually go back, and I would assume that Butch wouldn’t want them to stop going. Still, it may be a while before they go back, because I think it will be a very long time before we will be able to face the loss and how it happened. Today would have been Butch’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Uncle Butch. We love and miss you very much.

My grandnephew, Keifer Balcerzak is a true sports fanatic. He will play just about any sport out there. In the summertime, it’s time for softball or baseball. I didn’t always realize that there was a difference, but it is the hardness of the ball…obviously, but there are rule differences too. Anyway, that aside, I’m pretty sure Keifer has played both. Now that he is a grown man, he has been on teams with his dad, Dave Balcerzak, and now his brother-in-law, Dylan Herr. They have a great time, and they often win in the tournaments they play in. They also play in charity and fundraiser games as well, because these guys are known for their desire to “give back” to help those in need. The proceeds always go to a family or person in need. This year was to help the family of a young 28-year-old dad, tragically killed in a car accident, leaving behind a wife and two young children. These charity events are vital.

Keifer is a great dad to daughter, Reece and son, Aysa. Reece made her entrance very early and had to spend time in Denver. It was a hard time for Keifer and his wife, Katie, so he knows what it means to have the support of those around you with caring hearts. Reece is already into sports, like her daddy, and I’m quite sure Aysa will be too, when he is old enough. Katie is very supportive of all the sporting activities, and so they are a happy sports family. Recently, Keifer and Katie took the kids to the fair and they had the best time. There is nothing more exciting for a kid than the carnival rides, even if it is the kiddie rides, or even the swings at the park.

Keifer, like his dad, is a computer programmer working for the State of Wyoming, but they don’t work in the same division, so they don’t get to work together. A lot of the work they do, in cyber security, which we all know is a seriously important job these days. Working for the state is a great job to have, with great benefits for a family man. Just having a family without having insurance can be a big financial burden, so it’s important to have those benefits. Keiffer is good at his job, and the state is very happy with him. I foresee a long and prosperous career there…plus, he likes his work and that makes a big difference. Keifer is a very blessed man. He has it all. A beautiful wife, and great kids, a career he loves, and buddies to play sports with. It doesn’t get any better than that. Today is Keifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Keifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Chris PetersenChris in bootsNineteen years ago today, I became a grandmother for the first time, when my daughter, Corrie, and her husband, Kevin Petersen gave me my first grandson, Chris Petersen. It was such an exciting time for me. It seemed like I had waited for this day for years. In reality, I was a young grandmother, not yet forty years old. Still, the wait for this little boy, and his cousin, seemed endless. Then suddenly, they were here and my world seemed so complete…until the rest of the grandbabies arrived anyway.

It seems impossible that so many years have passed so quickly and we are looking at a nineteen year old young man today. Chris is attending college in Sheridan, Wyoming studying the Culinary Arts, and plans to own his own restaurant someday. He is an excellent chef, who is the latest in a long line of chefs in his family. It is becoming quite a tradition, and one that Chris is proud to carry on into the next generation. College life takes Chris away from us for most of the school year, but thankfully he is still in Wyoming, and can come home on nice weekends. That doesn’t really make the rest of the time any easier on us, his family. We miss him very much. I am just thankful that his birthday fell on the weekend this year so he could come home to celebrate it on his day.

This birthday is even a little more special for Chris, since it was just two weeks ago that he had a car accident that could have been bad, but ended up good, in that all is well, and Chris is ok. We are beyond thankful that God’s angels had been given charge over Chris to keep him safe. While he was achy and bothered by recurring thoughts of the accident, he has no other ill side effects. The car was totaled, but it will be replaced. That is nothing really when compared to the life of my grandson. We will not dwell of the could have beens, because we know the reality of what was and is. Chris is still with us, and all is well. We rejoice in that fact. We praise God for His protection, and thank God for his life.

Chris is a young man with a healthy mix of responsibility and a fun sense of humor. He is a joy to be around. His Chris playing in the cupboardChristopher in clothes basketkindness runs deep, as do his feelings. He is sensitive to the feelings of others, almost to a fault, but that is a trait that blesses us deeply. He will continue to grow into a great man, who will live up to his full potential. His love of the Lord has increased exponentially this past year as he has stepped into the position of Spiritual Head of his own life. He takes that responsibility very seriously, making sure that his spirit is fed and continuously growing. I am so very proud of the young man he has become. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!

Kids, young and old have a fascination with fire trucks. Maybe it is the idea of a real superhero that draws us to them. Or maybe it is the siren that gets our attention. Maybe its the cool truck with all its great equipment. It could be the excitement of the job they do, or the thought of how it must feel to rescue someone from certain death.

No matter what the draw is, it seems to draw us all. When a fire truck goes down the street with lights flashing and sirens blaring, everyone looks and starts wondering what has happened. You scan the sky for smoke and when you see none, you assume it must have been a car accident. Your thoughts wander to the person is serious need of help right now, and inside you say a prayer for their safety.

But for kids, it is the dream of someday being a firefighter…a hero, or super hero. I know of very few little boys who don’t want to be a fireman at sometime in their young life. My grandsons have all talked about ir at one time or another. Girls may not want that so often, but my niece Lindsay went so far as getting a degree in fire science and working for the Forest Service in Hill City, South Dakota for two summers.

The kids get to meet the firefighters at school, and field trips, as well as other events designed to promote safety and awareness, so they get to see how important the job is. In this picture, my grandson Christopher is standing on the seat of the truck. The look on his face shows that he is on cloud nine. He has always likes things mechanical, and the fire truck is the ultimate in gadgetry. Kids today are very used to and comfortable with gadgetry. They thrive on it. The more tech savvy something is, the better. Add that to the whole fireman/firetruck thing and kids are set.

We all look up to the firefighters. They run in to protect and save us when we need them the most. They are our superheroes, and we will always look when they go by, wondering what emergency they are heading to this time. We see them as exciting and brave, courageous and strong. And little kids everywhere looking at them as exactly what they want to be when they grow up.

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