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Hawley Elementary School teacher grateful to be alive after tragic field trip accident

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 6:26 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Gooseberry Falls is a popular Minnesota state park. But it’s also dangerous. A quick google search brings up article after article of hikers falling to their death.

Beau Lofgren is one of those people who fell off over the waters edge while trying to save a child-- and today he lives to tell the tale.

Six months ago while on a school field trip -- the Hawley Elementary teacher’s life changed forever.

“The next thing I knew is we, we both made a 30 foot ball down the set of waterfalls,” Lofgren said.

He broke 4 vertebrae and his tailbone, while trying to help a young student who had waded to close to the edge. Lofgren spent 4 days in the hospital, months in a brace, and even longer relearning how to walk. He still isn’t 100%. The physical part of recovery was hard. But, he says, being back at school has helped him recover, mentally.

”It was like instant adrenaline knowing that okay, these are the kids I get to work with. And that really helped me here to get better here so I could be here today,” he told his students before dismissing them for lunch.

Lofgren teaches his 6th graders all kinds of serious life lessons, from student’s losing their little brothers-- to his accident.

He stands at the front of the room, brace in hand, showing it off to his students, “And this was my brace honest and my brace that I thought you know, and it’s so funny because this was such a part of my life for you know, three months.”

He says his students are like medicine him-- and says that talking to his students is not only helping him recover, but it’s helping his students be vulnerable about their struggles, too.

The accident has given him a new outlook on life. This Thanksgiving, he says he’s more grateful than ever.

“And I’m just thankful to to experience all that life has to offer everyday living and Hawley. I just I can’t say that enough,” Lofgren said.

But most of all, he’s just glad he’s still here for his family.

“I’m thankful for the opportunities I have to teach, to coach, to be a husband, to be a father,” he explained.

And they’re grateful he’s still here, too.

“I love when he drives us to school in the morning -- spending that time before school. Coming home after school just seeing him really makes me happy,” his son, Jonathan said.

Lofgren wanted to made sure I told you just how thankful he is for his church, the medical staff at his hospital, and everyone who’s played a part in his recovery.

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