So...as of yesterday afternoon...Mike has officially applied for his hand cycle grant! Wow...it was a bit of a bigger job then I had anticipated...but hopefully it will be well worth it! We find out in April. While we were gathering all the paperwork...there were two letters of recommendations required...one from his physician and the other from a friend or family member...so...who do you think he asked...yep...me! As much as I love Mike...I wasn't super excited to write it...because it meant one more thing to do...but after putting it together I am so glad I had that opportunity. It reminded me...again...of all the many reasons I love Mike...So...if you don't mind my bad writing...I'd like to share...
To whom it may concern:
I am Michelle Bratt Kemp, wife of Michael Shirl Kemp. We began dating in September of 2003 and were married by April of 2004. From my very first encounter with Michael until now I have known him to be nothing but respectful, kind and hard working. The first 2 and a half years of marriage Michael worked as a Real-estate Agent for Prudential Utah. Michael did well in the field and was making great progress. He then was offered a position as part owner of a custom log home company, Black Powder Log Homes. Wood work and Business management are two of his talents and passions in life. After much thought and discussion we decided together that this career move would be the best thing for him and our family. He worked hard with his partners to build the company. He was good at this business and learning more and more each day. It was very rewarding for him to see the company grow. In September of 2005 Broden Michael Kemp was born into our family bringing us much joy. In January of 2008 Jocelyn Kemp also was born into our family. We had four and a half sweet weeks as a family of four. In March of 2008 Michael fell off some scaffolding, just 9 feet, breaking his back and bursting his thoracic 12 vertebrae. Within hours of his accident he was diagnosed with paraplegia and told he would never walk again. This was devastating to the both of us. Even with the incredible pressure that comes from something so hard to wrap our minds around, Michael decided he would make the most of it, and we would look at this as an adventure. I can honestly say through all of the ups and downs he has looked at all of this as one crazy and wild adventure...learning much.
From the years of knowing Michael and the stories I have heard from his family and friends I have heard nothing but positive. The stories I tend to hear are of him being understanding of others, hard working, and courageous. All of which is what I would most definitely say of Michael. Before his accident Michael spent many of his days serving...whether he was snow blowing someones driveway and walk, or helping a neighbor fix their sprinkler system he would do it, and he would do it with a smile. After his accident we had an outpouring of incredibly kind and generous people willing to do anything for us. I believe that is much attributed to Michael and the man he is. Through all of these hard times we have been experiencing, Michael has been my strength and my confidant. I feel as though he is comforting me more than I have ever done for him. Something that has stood out to me about Michael is that he appreciates everything and chooses to be happy each day. There are several occasions where I have found myself distraught and crying about our situation, wishing things would change, missing our old life...Michael stops me and says "Michelle, we have our family, we have a roof over our heads, we have food in our fridge...what more do we need?" Obviously there are several things that help, but he is right, we are incredibly blessed and have been blessed with all of our immediate needs. He does get frustrated at times knowing he cannot go back to his old job and begin providing for the family again. But he knows that attending school full time with goals of an associates degree in applied science and perhaps go on for a four year degree in business management or law will ultimately be better for us all. And we will look back at this interim as a short time. A time where we are all learning so much. I have so much respect and love for him. He does more for me and my family each day than I could ever do for him. We still are able to find things to do together, we still are able to laugh and smile each day, and we still are able to grow stronger together...thanks to Michael and his optimistic attitude.
Many times when I think about Michael and all his attributes I can't believe he's for real, and keep waiting to see his big flaws...but he is for real, and proves that to me daily. I would strongly recommend Michael for your CAF grant. He is incredibly deserving. As it would provide an avenue for not only opportunities to spend time with the family, but to maintain a physically fit body. Which is something that has always been important to Michael. Now that he is living his life in a wheelchair it is even more important to do so. There is a story that I could better express Michael's attitude and why he is so deserving. Just hours before Michael's accident I was very upset, I had just heard our son Broden had fallen and killed his front tooth, the dentist had informed us that his two front teeth would most likely be pulled and our two year old would be toothless (at least his two front teeth) for five remaining years. Just hours later and upon hearing of Michael's accident, I was given the phone to speak with Michael, as he was an hour south of where I was. We talked for a few minutes, and at the end of the conversation he said, "Well, at least I have my two front teeth!" Like I said, he is the kind of person that makes the most of life. This grant would help enable him to make even more of his life. Thank you for taking the time to read this, as I hope it is a help in making your decision.
Michelle Bratt Kemp