The long road back: Conrad community pitches in to aid Hulbert in recovery

From left to right, step-grandmother Sue Hulbert, grandfather Dave Hulbert, grandmother Diana Hulbert and aunt Kristy Hulbert hold a photo of their loved one Preston, a 21-year-old from Conrad who was critically injured in a firearm accident on January 26. A soup supper fundraiser held at Oakwood Golf Course raised over $3,000 for the family on Monday night to assist with medical expenses. (Robert Maharry/The Grundy Register photo) 

Preston Hulbert spent his 21st birthday in a hospital on February 15, but when you consider everything he’s gone through in the last month, it’s a miracle he’s even alive.


Hulbert, a Conrad native and BCLUW High School graduate, suffered a near-fatal brain injury after an accident involving a firearm about 20 miles from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he was attending a farm show, on January 26, and he’s been fighting for his life ever since. He started out in an intensive care unit at the Avera McKennan hospital, and has been transferred to Omaha, Nebraska, where he’s on a feeding tube and recently stood up for the first time.  


Doctors have removed portions of his skull, but Hulbert is making progress every day. And to his mother, Sheri—who can still remember Grundy County Deputy Nathan Stahl waking her up at 4:00 a.m. to tell her she needed to get to Sioux Falls as fast as possible—that’s all that really matters.


“I couldn’t get my bearings. Who can at that hour of the morning and with that news?” she asked. “I had six people picked out to carry my kid. I really did.”


The initial prognosis was anything but optimistic: a neurosurgeon told Hulbert her son would probably die, but with the help of a dedicated medical staff, support from back home and the power of prayer, Preston is doing better than ever a month later.


“I told (the neurosurgeon) ‘He’s young. He’s stubborn. He does things on his own terms. You just wait,’” Sheri said. “He’s just beating all the odds all the way around. He’s nothing short of a miracle.”


Preston’s friends and other family members have jumped in to help during a time of need, and a soup supper fundraiser Monday evening at the Oakwood Golf Course drew a capacity crowd, raising over $3,000. A GoFundMe account has been established (, and those who wish to help the family can also make a deposit to a special account at GNB Bank in Conrad. 


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