Store's volunteers build custom garden for paralyzed botanist


A home improvement store has helped bring a paralyzed Minnesota botanist closer to his plants.

In January 2012, Josh Horky, then 30, fell from a tamarack tree that he had climbed in pursuit of his hobby – collecting witch's brooms, tree mutations of dense masses of shoots that grow from a single point.

The Duluth botanist knew this particular tamarack well – he'd found his first witch's broom in its branches, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

“I was about 25 feet up and two branches failed, and down I went,” Horky told the newspaper. He broke his back and was paralyzed from the chest down.

The News Tribune profiled Horky and examined how his life had changed six months after the fall.

Now an update: Horky has been unable to garden in his backyard since the accident, so Home Depot volunteers on Thursday began building him raised garden beds that he could more easily access from a wheelchair, Northland's Newscenter reports.

"It's awesome to think that people would volunteer their time to come out and help someone they may not know, it's just a great thing," Horky told the stations.

"Team Depot" volunteer Tom Guerin said, "We get just as much out of it as volunteers – or more – than the person we're volunteering for."

Team Depot is a program that sends company volunteers into communities for service projects.

Next Up

Duluth and Case Recreation Center

St. Paul to open two extra temporary shelters for homeless people

Mayor Melvin Carter announced the new shelters will be opened in the event of excess demand.

vote, election

Minnesota once again had the highest election turnout in the country

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a record percentage of voters also sent in absentee ballots.

court gavel

Minneapolis man sentenced to 30 years for death in robbery gone wrong

James Moore was sentenced in the death of Malik Smith.

Em1jOWyWEAwspXK (1)

St. Paul homicide suspect arrested by FBI in Chicago

A 34-year-old Minneapolis man was killed in the Nov. 14 shooting.

Sanford Health

Sanford Health 'parts ways' with CEO after his face mask comments

Kelby Krabbenhoft had been with the company since 1996.

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.


How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.