Wildfire-warning rider home after stay at burn unit

This year was the best Father’s Day of James TenNapel’s life.

For one, his eldest son remembered it.

In addition, that same son, J.D. TenNapel, is home in Cedaredge and doing well after spending four days in the burn unit of Shriners Hospital for Children in Northern California.

“You can pretty much quote that this is pretty much the best Father’s Day ever,” James TenNapel said.

TenNapel and his son returned to their Cedaredge home early Saturday morning from Sacramento, Calif., where J.D. TenNapel went for treatment of the burns he suffered June 8 while riding his all-terrain vehicle through flames to warn neighbors of a fire that erupted in the Cedaredge area.

In California, J.D. immediately befriended his roommate, who was there for his 46th surgery, and became humbled but motivated to heal, he said. TenNapel responded so well to treatment that he avoided surgery and got to throw the football with his dad as part of physical therapy.

TenNapel loves football.

“I’m feeling great,” he said Sunday. “I’m getting better so fast.”

He still runs the risk of infection, his father said, and is basically confined to the family home.

TenNapel also must endure regular — and painful — showers and bandage changes, but the pain of the burns and the showers is no longer the worst pain of his life, he said.

The family “wants to thank everybody for their kind words and prayers,” James TenNapel said.

J.D. TenNapel likely will have to return to Shriners Hospital soon for a checkup. In the meantime, he wants to catch up on all the news stories and Internet videos that were written or made about him while he was in a hospital room for performing a courageous act “I would definitely do again,” he said.

The J.D. TenNapel Burn Fund has been set up for donations for his ongoing medical expenses at Wells Fargo, 500 Palmer St., Delta, CO 81416. Call a bank representative at 970-874-6215 with questions.


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