On Feb. 16, Broden Frolek walked up to an altar ambo at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Lidgerwood, N.D., from a pew where he’d been sitting, to thank family and friends for their steadfast support over the past months.
A Mass of Thanksgiving had just been offered to celebrate his recovery from a near-fatal accident. With a surprising steadiness and confidence, the young North Dakota State University student, 19, expressed his gratitude, calling his life “a living testament to the power of prayer.”
Watching, Mason Falk, 21, flashed back to that chilly day in late November when he and a few friends had come upon the scene of the single-car accident in North Dakota’s Sargent County; a still-unexplained crash that had left his closest cousin in a fetal position, with bones protruding from one of his legs, along with a broken rib and a traumatic brain injury.
“As soon as I brought my headlights to the highway, perpendicular to the slough, we saw the car, upside-down and facing the opposite way,” Falk says.
Immediately, he called Broden’s father, Aaron, who was part of a convoy of about 10 vehicles searching for his son.
Three hours earlier, Broden had left his parent’s home in rural Lidgerwood to watch an Ultimate Fighting Championship match on television with some friends. But his memory of that trip has been erased.
“I remember what I was doing earlier that day,” he says, “but I can’t remember stepping a foot into the vehicle.”
He woke up 11 days later, confused, at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo. Little by little, friends and family have helped fill in the known details.
A cousin’s perspective
Though Falk was tired that evening, he says, his cousin’s disappearance woke him up. After spotting Broden’s overturned car in the black night, with the help of his car headlights, he got out of his vehicle, running through the icy water-filled slough to reach the car.
“The water was about knee-deep, and as I got closer, I stopped. I just froze. I was like, ‘Am I ready for what I’m about to see?’” Falk recalls.
Falk’s roommate, Devan Round, a nursing student, didn’t hesitate.
“He ran up to the car, and noticed a little water on the roof,” Falk recounts. “He got down on his hands and knees and checked, and said, ‘He’s not in there.’” He noticed a single shoe inside.
“It was a really cold night, and very windy,” Falk recounts. “You could only hear the cattails” moving in the wind. “Devan got on top of the car and started yelling.”
Suddenly, he heard a voice. “Just a little mumble.” He jumped off the car to investigate.
“Broden was north of the car about 10, 15 feet in a little spot, about 5 by 5 feet, on top of the ice, surrounded by the cattails,” Falk continues. “It was the only bare spot all around.”
They called 911, and Round began checking for injuries, noticing Broden’s bruised head.
“He wasn’t conscious, but he was speaking. It sounded to me like Latin,” Falk says.
“Broden, it’s Mason. We’re here,” he’d said. That’s when the words from Broden became clearer.
“He was praying the ‘Our Father,’ just little bits. So, I knelt down and started praying with him.”
Falk says he figured leg amputation was imminent. “We were also thinking hypothermia,” along with brain damage. “His lips were purple, almost pale, but he wasn’t even shivering.”
They later learned that, incredibly, there’d been no signs of hypothermia. “It was like God was watching over him the whole time.”
About 10 long minutes later, an ambulance arrived, and the waiting — and earnest praying — began.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Inforum, Roxane B. Salonen