Community helps paralyzed student take on next adventure - KOTA Territory News

Community helps paralyzed student take on next adventure

Swanson chats with two friends on the School of Mines campus. Swanson chats with two friends on the School of Mines campus.

Even without the use of his arms and legs, second year South Dakota School of Mines student Dusty Swanson is all smiles, talking about his next big adventure.

"It's going to be really exciting, I'm thrilled to go down there," Swanson said, referring to the NASA internship program in Houston, Texas, which begins May 21st. Swanson is one of only three students in South Dakota to be accepted into the program.

"I can go from the internship to a co-op with them, and in the future, if I ever did want to work for NASA, it could put me in the right direction," Swanson said.

The Hill City High School graduate suffered a spinal injury four years ago during a wrestling meet in Fort Pierre. Since then, Swanson and his family have been no strangers to the outpouring of community support from all over KOTA Territory. through fund raisers and other events, enough money was raised to remodel Swanson's home to make it wheelchair accessible. Money was also donated to help buy a specialized van Swanson can travel in, and to pay for medical expenses.

While Swanson was able to overcome his handicap to get accepted into the program, people in the community know he can't do it all on his own. That's why another fundraising event has been organized to help pay for Swanson's travel expenses and living expenses during his 10 week stay in Houston.

"It's not cheap, gas ain't cheap," Swanson said of his specialized van, he says gets only 6 to 8 miles per gallon.

The fundraiser will be hosted by the Chute Rooster in Hill City and is scheduled for Sunday at 5 p.m. The event entails a wild game feed and an auction. For a donation people can come and enjoy a meal featuring elk, caribou, moose, and pheasant meat, and bid on items including a Maui time share stay and a Scheels gift certificate worth several hundred dollars.

"I just want to say thanks," Swanson said. "Only going home on the weekends, I barely get to see anyone and I think it will be nice being able to see everyone again."

And after all the community support Swanson says it's now up to him, to do be the best he can be.

"Keeping my grades up, and hope I can keep them up for the rest of my three years," Swanson said.



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