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Living without Nathan
Oct. 15, 2012
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Benefit set for Cokato family who lost husband, father

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

COKATO, MN – August 10, 2012 is a day Myndy DeBolt will remember for the rest of her life – that was the day she said goodbye to her best friend, husband, and soul mate.

Nathan DeBolt was only 33 years old when he suffered an asthma attack and died during a family vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The couple, along with their three children, Daniel, 12; Ashton, 6; and Sophiya, 1; were about to enjoy a week-long vacation – the first for the family.

On their drive in a rented motor home, the family made some memories at various tourist stops along the way, including the world’s only Corn Palace.

After making it to their destination Aug. 10 at Rushmore Shadows Resort and settling in for the night, Nathan began experiencing an asthma attack.

When his inhaler wasn’t helping, he looked to his mother, Joan, who was also along on the trip, for her emergency inhaler.

Still unable to breath, Nathan told Myndy to call 911 and said “This is it.” He then began saying his good-byes, telling Myndy how much he loved her and the kids.

Myndy performed CPR as instructed by the 911 dispatcher for about 10 minutes – though Myndy said it seemed much longer – until the first responders arrived at the scene.

When Nathan reached the hospital, the doctor informed Myndy his lungs had collapsed and tubes were inserted to help remove fluid. He was then taken to ICU.

To help his body and organs rest, Nathan was put into hypothermal bags to bring his body temperature down. This was a 24-hour treatment, Myndy explained.

After his body was reheated, it was determined there had been too much swelling and damage to the brain. All the while, Myndy kept hoping and praying he would come back to her. “His heart was so strong, it would beat forever,” she said, adding that he looked like he could just wake up any minute.

“We were praying for a miracle,” Myndy said. “I just never imagined [this] would happen,” she added, explaining that Nathan’s mom had already lost one son in a motorcycle accident and didn’t ever think God would take her other son, too.

She was told the doctors did all they could, but that Nathan was without oxygen for just too long.

Because he was an organ donor, Myndy continued to wait by his side until a surgical team arrived from Minnesota for his healthy organs to be removed.

Though Nathan was taken off life support Aug. 14, he continues to give life to others today.

Myndy has received a letter from LifeSource, a nonprofit organization dedicated to organ and tissue donation, informing her that a 14-year-old boy in Minnesota received one of Nathan’s kidneys. The boy had been on dialysis for a year and is home now and doing well.

Nathan’s heart and second kidney went to a 58-year-old man from Wisconsin who had also recieved his second heart transplant. The first transplant followed congestive heart failure in 1999, and had since failed.

Nathan’s liver was able to go to a 51-year-old man from California who was diagnosed with liver cancer and had been on the donor list for one year.

Living without Nathan

Together, Nathan and Myndy grew up in Staples. They began dating when she was 14 years old. The couple married in 2004, and have been together for a total of 16 years.

“We shared a love that people search their whole lives for and don’t find,” she said. “We were so happy.”

Living life without Nathan has been difficult for Myndy because he was always there for her and the family, she explained.

“That’s what’s so hard. I don’t even know what to do anymore,” Myndy said.

The couple moved to Cokato for job opportunities. Nathan’s sister, Antoinette, was also living in Cokato at the time.

Nathan learned how to weld at Design and Fabrication, before getting a job at Olsen Chain and Cable in Cokato.

“Nathan was such a hard worker, and all he wanted to do was take care of his family the best he could,” Myndy said.

Not only was Nathan dedicated to his job and family, but he would always lend a helping hand to a friend in need.

“It drove me nuts sometimes because he would just drop everything to go help anyone if they needed it,” Myndy said. “He was very giving.”

Lending a helping hand

Like Nathan, who was always willing to lend a hand, the Cokato-Dassel Lions Club is asking the community to support the DeBolt family Saturday, Oct. 20.

Since Nathan didn’t have life insurance, his death has left a financial strain on the family. Myndy is also currently unable to work due to a herniated disc.

Myndy noted that they used much of their savings for this family vacation, which they didn’t get to enjoy.

Being a neighbor to the DeBolts and knowing their situation, Lion Abe Abrahamson – with the help of his fellow Lions – is coordinating a spaghetti dinner and silent auction from 4 to 7 p.m. at Evangelical Lutheran Church (Third Street East, Cokato).

Abrahamson recalls having a conversation with Nathan Aug. 7 during the National Night Out gathering. “When I heard he passed away Aug. 14, I was just floored,” he commented.

For those who can’t make the spaghetti dinner and would like to help the DeBolt family, there are other events scheduled for that day, including a Zumbathon at Cokato Elementary from 1 to 2:30 p.m.; and a benefit at Iron Horse Grill and Saloon starting at 7 p.m.

A fund has also been set up for the DeBolt family at First National Bank, Cokato.

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