The March 2017 Knightro Report entitled Country Angels: A True Miracle That Touched Many Lives was dedicated to my granddaughter, Breanna Kinneman, who lost both of legs in a tragic car accident just before Thanksgiving 2016. Because of the tremendous response, I would like to rededicate this column as a tribute to all those that gave of themselves and their resources.

How do you say THANK YOU to thousands of people who gave tens of thousands of dollars to a cause greater than that of themselves? There just simply isn’t a way to contact every single contributor or adequately put into words the gratitude felt by Breanna and her entire family.

It was an act of kindness that stretches far beyond that of the usual reticence of caring and loving someone. It rises to the level of an innate human response of compassion that rarely touches our inner soul; perhaps as therapeutic to the giver as it was to Breanna.

She will be forever grateful to each and every one of you – not just for the money raised, but for your compassionate support of love, thoughts, and prayer. Long after the money is gone, she will hang on to these intangibles for the rest of her life.

That which can’t be measured ordinarily carries more weight than that which can be counted. When the top line becomes more important than the bottom line is the indication we’ve finally got our life in order. Because of your gracious giving, Breanna has reached this level of priorities in her life. A whole new world of opportunities has opened up for her. She’s looking at a future that she could never before envisioned – a future that is rich with promise, possibilities, and hope.

That reinforcement was shown to her at a recent benefit held in her honor. With nearly 1200 hundred people in attendance, contributing nearly $60,000, it was an overwhelming act of kindness, showing her more love and support than she could have ever imagined. When the organization called “Wiggle Your Toes” came with a check for $6,000, the total giving since the accident went past the $100,000 mark.

The event was the successful result of a lot of hard work by family and friends. Special thanks to Kris Sampson and Veronica Ford, who co-chaired the event. They, in turn, received great support from my grandson, Kurtis Kinneman, whose creativity and talent gave it a very thoughtful, professional touch.

And one cannot thank enough the support of the Ptacek family for donating the Confluence Center and other gratuitous contributions.

The generosity was followed up by Great Rivers Printing and many other businesses in this the most special city, located on the picturesque banks of the St Croix and Mississippi rivers.

“Only in Prescott, Wisconsin, could this have ever happened.”

It was a gift of the entire community, including all of the churches (with many special gifts from Joy Lutheran) and civic organizations (Kiwanis and Lions) — and from as far away as California, Ohio, Washington, Texas, Florida, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Without these contributions, it would never have been the success that it was.

When members from your church hand you a $500.00 check or give you a firm handshake, leaving a 100 dollar bill in your palm, it gives a sense of unworthiness for all their expressions of love and hope.

But the ‘centerpiece’ of the day was from one of your own, Heidi Gorman, who is the editor of this magazine for which I write the Knightro Report. She sent a beautiful handmade quilt that was the apple of my granddaughter’s eye. It was a big attraction for a lot of people, as it brought a lot of money, but for Breanna, it was all about those many shades of purple. But, wouldn’t you know it, one of her “most giving” relatives stepped up to the plate and bought it for her.

Heidi didn’t stop there though — she went on to circulate the story about my granddaughter, which went on to generate even more revenue for the event. Nearly every artist who’s work graces the covers of these beautiful magazines sent signed copies of their artwork to be auctioned off.

It was a big hit, bringing lots of dollars.

Speaking of lots of dollars – there was no slowing this crowd down during the live auction. Just as something was bringing upwards of two thousand dollars, the buyer would holler sell it again, and again, and again!

That is the spirit of the auction, for which I would like to share names. But just as in the case of other contributors, the list would be too long for inclusion in this column. You know who you are and how much you’re loved and appreciated!

Love and appreciation pretty much sum up the entire series of events, as I’ve never been prouder of my family, or felt a greater sense of pride — as I was about to experience the biggest honor of my life.

Before the auction began, I asked my daughter to bring Breanna up front to be by my side. When I reached down to give her a little peck on the check, I noticed her wiping a tear from her eye, and as the moment got more emotional, I saw others with their handkerchiefs out.

And when I introduced her as the “most beautiful girl in the world,” I, along with the rest of crowd nearly lost our composure.

But the auction had to go on, as will the rest of her life.


Breanna’s Journey

Like most of us, Breanna’s journey began when she was born, but unlike most of us, her life hit a bump in the road. While most of us go through life without anything as life-changing as losing our legs – for many of us, our outcome may not be as bright as hers.

As her Grandpa, l can assure you that this is a far from anything she or her family could have ever imagined. We had dreams and ambitions for her that didn’t begin to challenge the potential that we see in her today.

If it takes the worst to bring out the best in us, then she is the epitome of rising to the occasion. In the darkest moments of this tragedy, she has been uplifting to all who have come to know her.

Your presence at the benefit was not only inspiring; it becomes the self-fulling prophecy of enriching the lives of this entire community.

From the days that I let her and her friends play in the sand and mud until they were unrecognizable, and in trouble with their moms, it seems a travesty of time and circumstances.

Like most things in our lives, that which we thought was monumental is meniscal in comparison.

Even her fleeting moments of horsemanship were undaunted by a Grandpa that was determined to want her to love horses. And with her very own pony (Black Beauty) it almost happened, but even then God had other plans for her. She tried her hardest to please me, but without that fire in our belly and an unyielding passion, it seems that none of us can become all God intended.

There is no question now about her focus in life, as with divine intervention comes a new and exciting direction that will change lives. Her will to overcome has already been an inspiration to so many as she moves forward with the challenge to become all that she can be.

Her future is as uncertain as yours and mine, but with every uplifting hand comes the realization of a tomorrow that will enrich all our lives.

We don’t know what her future holds, but we do know who holds her future.

“That which can’t be measured ordinarily carries more weight than that which can be counted. When the top line becomes more important than the bottom line is the indication we’ve finally got our life in order.”

– Ken Knight, Breanna Kinneman’s grandfather