Stan Kent and his wife Nancy, along with three horses, moved to Sulphur Springs, Texas over several months in 2014.  Stan had retired from the school district in Wichita, Kansas, located a large ranch with a stable (to which he later added riding arena) in the Sulphur Springs area, and started the next phase of his life.   He remarks: ‘June was probably NOT the best time to start the move to Texas!’
 
 

 
By early spring 2016 Nancy was encouraging him to find a civic organization to which he could devote time and some of his considerable energy, and to choose the Rotary was a natural decision: his step-father and big brother Ron had been members; Ron had even attended RYLA camp as a high school junior.  Stan has hilarious stories of how Ron and his RYLA friends safeguarded their stash of food in the cabin from invasive racoons!
 
Stan started attending Rotary, remembered the group singing Happy Birthday to him even before he became a member (April 2016), and was inducted into membership in May of 2016.
 
His willingness to become involved is legendary and impressive.  He came to the monthly board meetings as a member (very few Sulphur Springs Rotarians do that regularly).  When an opening on the Board became available mid-year he volunteered to fill it.  When an opening became available for the Secretary position he was on it!  Within the club he worked to get sign-ups from Rotarians for the Relay for Life, offering as a reward a visit to the ranch to ride the horses, for the volunteering Rotarian and any family members that cared to come.  He didn’t tell the Rotarians that they would ‘pay’ for the ride with a lesson in grooming the horses they would ride, or that the ride would be on English saddles.  He also began working with Rotarians skilled in the building trades to repair the roof where the Air Cadets met at the airport.  He volunteered for Dinner Bell duty when Rotary signed up to cook and serve the meal.  And he volunteered to accompany the RYLA-rians to the camp several hours south of town twice!  All in all, he demonstrated over and over again his willingness to be of service to the club.
 
In of 2018, tragedy struck.  While repairing a roof on his stable after the Rotary Meeting that Thursday, he slipped and fell, landing on his back, seriously injuring his spine and spinal cord at location T3, and affecting spine function at locations T4 and T5. Nancy found him after an unknown period of time, and he was airlifted to Parkland Hospital in Dallas (about 90 miles away).  Surgery was scheduled for the following Monday; that weekend he was joking around with a visiting Rotary friend.   For several weeks after the surgery he was pretty much out of it; he barely remembers visits from Ron, his brother, Nancy, and other Rotarians.  Rods had been placed in his back to address the broken back; the surgeon indicated that it might take six months before they would be able to tell if nerves were regenerating, meaning that he might be able to walk again.  His neck was in a cervical collar as a precaution; he could not talk or write well enough due to a concussion and the effect of painkillers to communicate with care givers much less visitors.  Rotarians and friends from Kansas and Missouri sent him tons of cards to wish him a speedy recovery.
 
After a month of acute care at Parkland, he was transferred to the Select Specialty Hospital (SSH) in Dallas to complete basic healing.  The plan was to transfer to the rehabilitation hospital in the Baylor Scott White complex to prepare to return home when his doctors determined he was ready.  It was during this month long period of time at SSH that a pressure ulcer began to develop deep under the skin of his back-side.  Eager to be back in Sulphur Springs he requested a transfer to a rehabilitation facility in Sulphur Springs rather than stay far away from family and friends in Dallas.
 
During his stay in Sulphur Springs, the bed sore erupted, and the long treatment period for the ulcer halted most rehabilitation exercises.  He did feel his feet and could move his toes on several occasions encouraging his faith that he might walk again.  Visitors from the community were impressed over and over again by his ability to take the devastating punches caused by his injuries and micro-organisms, yet still maintain his positive spirit.   The nurses aids and nurses could end up rolling on the floor when he told some of his jokes.
 
In the spring of 2019, he was transferred once more to a hospital in Plano where a doctor performed flap surgery to complete the closure of his ulcer that massive infusions of antibiotics had failed to completely heal .  After a month or so in that hospital where he was monitored very closely to ensure the wound surgery was healing properly, he ended up in the Rehabilitation Center at Baylor (909 North Washington Avenue, Room 409, Dallas TX 75246).   He is learning to use a powered wheelchair, to enable him to return home able to take care of basic needs, both physical and practical.  He thinks he will be there for another couple of months, and as soon as his upper body strength is at the right level, he wants to start trying the bars to start practicing placing weight on his legs. 
 
Members of Sulphur Springs Rotary Club are rooting for him (his primary request was that we make a donation in his father’s name who had died of polio when Stan was just a baby to the Polio Fund), and being VERY careful with ladder and roof activities.  There is marvelous (and expensive) new technology that can be strapped on to enable walking (EKYS-Skeletons!) that he is checking out.  He is being worked hard at rehab, so that his muscle strength grows.  His spirit and inner strength are tremendous, despite the horrendous challenges of the past year!  And he still has jokes ready for visitors and staff!  There are multiple motivational examples of individuals beating medical odds.  And if anyone can come back from this, it is Stan Kent.   Please pray for…and write to or visit Stan.
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