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Glenwood wishes Gardner well as he wrestles with frostbite

Tom Boas hopes warm wishes from Glenwood Springs will help Rulon Gardner recover from frostbite.

The gold medal Olympic wrestler got lost while snowmobiling in below-zero temperatures last Thursday in Wyoming. Since his rescue Friday morning, he has been hospitalized in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with severe frostbite to his toes.

Gardner ran the last leg of the Olympic Torch Relay in Glenwood Springs on Feb. 2. He signed autographs, posed for pictures and was an all-around nice guy.



So when Boas heard about Gardner’s situation, he came up with the idea of letting locals show their appreciation with get well cards.

“I spent time with him when I did lunch at the Community Center,” said Boas, who catered the lunch after the torch run. “For all he did for



this town, it just seems like a small thing to do to cheer him up.”

Boas mobilized employees of the city of Glenwood Springs, students at Colorado Mountain College and at local schools to collect hundreds of cards and letters. He plans to hand deliver them to Gardner’s hospital room in Idaho on Sunday.

“We’re in the process of printing get well cards,” Glenwood Springs city clerk Robin Clemons said Wednesday afternoon.

By Wednesday evening, three giant cards were finished and one was displayed in the foyer of City Hall. The other two cards will be available for signing in front of City Market and Safeway between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday. Cards are also being made by some students at CMC.

“We’re blowing up some pictures to put on the cards,” Boas said. “So we’ll have five of these great big cards for people to sign.”

He encouraged people to bring their own cards if they want, too.

“You just don’t get the opportunity that often to pay someone back for what they’ve done and do something meaningful,” Boas said.

The posterboard cards made by deputy city clerk Laura Gately read: “We hope you are feeling better soon!” and have lots of room for signatures.

Gardner is being treated for frostbite at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. He became a national icon of sorts during the Sydney Olympics in 2000, when he stunned Russian Alexander Karelin 1-0 to win the gold medal. Karelin had not lost an international match in 13 years.

The 30-year-old athlete was out for a snowmobile ride before dinner on Feb. 14 in Wyoming’s Star Valley when he got separated from a friend while trying to climb a ridge in deep snow. He got wet crossing a creek, and survived only because he found a cluster of trees and dug into the snow to wait the night out. Searchers found him Friday morning.

Gardner’s body temperature had dropped to 88 degrees and he was caked with ice.

He was listed in fair condition on Tuesday, but the fate of his toes remains in doubt.


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