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VIEWPOINT: Gophers' saying 'Brick by Brick' becomes injured dad's new motto

Churches are rallying around Melissa, left, Alexa and Kirk Ingram of Woodbury, after Kirk was seriously injured in a diving accident Aug. 2. The baby was born July 18. (Submitted photo)

When Jerry Kill took over as the football coach of the Gophers he knew he had a long process ahead of him to build up the football program. They adopted the slogan, “Brick by Brick.” And year by year we have seen steady progress brick by brick. One of the Gophers strong supporters showing up each Saturday to tailgate and cheer on his beloved Gophers was Kirk Ingram. And this slogan, “Brick by Brick,” has become the motto of Ingram’s recovery.

On Saturday, Aug. 2, Ingram was involved in a diving accident at Lake Minnetonka that crushed his fourth and fifth vertebrae and left him with the high probability of being paralyzed from the chest down.

It was only three weeks earlier that Ingram and his wife, Melissa, were celebrating the birth of their first child, Alexa, and now Ingram is fighting for his life.

Ingram, who was a graduate of Concordia University in St. Paul and Woodbury High School, was a standout baseball player who loved to play and compete.

After graduation he started working for the Target Corp. and is a well-loved employee.

Ingram has always been a person more concerned about everybody else and one of the most positive people I know. He has a fierce determination and has already stated that he will give everything he’s got to one day walk his little Alexa down the aisle.

Kirk and Melissa and their parents are active in their church communities — Woodbury Lutheran, Woodbury/Peaceful Grove United Methodist, and Hennepin Avenue United Methodist — and we are joining together in prayer asking for a miracle from God’s mighty right hand.

We know the road ahead will be long, filled with ups and downs and many changes. But it’s also an opportunity for our communities to rally around one of our own with prayers, resources and care.

You can imagine how devastating news like this can be for a family. But they have also been overwhelmed with the amazing support of family, friends and many people they don’t even know — fueled by a strong faith that carries them through each day.

I remember Ingram in our youth group as always caring and fighting for everyone else. He was always looking to include those left out and welcome those who were brand new.

I would invite you to be one of the support bricks in his journey to recovery.

You can go to Ingram’s Caring Bridge site (caringbridge.org/visit/kirkingram), see his progress and lift up prayers that are needed.

To go to the family’s Go Fund Me page (gofundme.com/c43uwhf7c) and financially support the brick-by-brick process as this situation creates great financial need.

Or show your support around town by buying a brick-by-brick Team Ingram T-shirt from which all proceeds go to support the family (booster.com/teamkirk).

During the last week, it’s been a great reminder for me how precious life is and how quickly one’s situation can change. It’s also taught me that times like these are when you see the best side of your church and community who rallies around one of its own, even if they don’t personally know them.

Your community is behind you, Kirk and Melissa, with bricks — prayer, faith and resources — in hand.

The Rev. Derek Broten is pastor of Woodbury Lutheran Church.

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