WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 11, 2014, 07:58 PM

Milnor Miracle: Teen teaches valuable life lessons

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) - Every once in a while, a story, a person comes along that teaches us all a valuable life lesson. This is one of those stories.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) - Every once in a while, a story, a person comes along that teaches us all a valuable life lesson. This is one of those stories.

We learned about Parker Sebens 13 years ago. A farm accident nearly took his life; he was just three. In a 14 hour operation, surgeons re-attached Parker's arms. His family, devastated by the accident, never left his side.

Parker endured months of therapy and rehab. After complications, Parker's arms were later removed. Through it all, the little boy captured the hearts of everyone as he worked through difficult physical therapy and adjusted to life without his arms.

Parker is now a junior in high school in Milnor, ND, and doing amazing things.

You want to see the face of a Can-Do kid? Here it is. Just outside of Milnor, N.D., Parker Sebens and his father Mitch, in a competitive game of pool. Don't be fooled - the kid can play.

Spend the day with Parker Sebens, and you quickly realize, this is one determined, inspirational 16 year-old.

Xbox? No problem.

Facebook? Twitter? Ok.

Using the stump of his right arm near the shoulder, Parker is able to click and spin the mouse...even type.

At the school in Milnor, Parker is with the same buddies he played with as a toddler following his accident. They know him like a brother, and it is that family feel here that has made his move to independence so impressive. Lunchtime is sometimes a team effort.

Parker texts like everyone else, he's just more inventive.

Parker Sebens - Involved in farm accident: “At first I did not know how to text. I just wanted to be cool and get a phone. So, I got it and then I decided I should figure out how to text so I don't just leave it in my room all the time. I hold it and just use my lips.”

He works out every day, lately doing P90X. Parker is involved in everything at school He helped with Milnor's State Championship Team, and he went to state in speech. Humorous category...I wonder why.

Parker Sebens: “It was about some guy pretending to be a girl, so he sticks rocks under his shirt. Halfway through the story he has to start running, so I stuck my arms under my shirt. You know, when you're running you have to add gravity into it..."

The speed, the precision to do the simplest thing. Parker's family continues to be amazed at his determination. He's never given up or asked to be babied. There have been rough times, but the little boy adapted, grew up, and has willpower tough as steel.

Parker Sebens: “I don't like getting things for free. People help me and I don't give anything back.”

Mitch Sebens - Parker’s dad: “It is awesome how he has done. There are a lot of things; you push him, 'You can do better, you can do better.' And other people push him, and you have to sit back and say, 'Let him do it at his own pace.'”

Initially, Parker was fitted with prosthetic arms, but he found them cumbersome and heavy. He did much better without them.

Parker puts up with people who stare and say obnoxious things.

Parker Sebens: “People who don't believe me right away, that gets kind of annoying. They're like, 'You didn't fall in an auger,' and I say, 'Well, yeah, I think I did.'"

It has been this town, Milnor, from the day he came home to a hero's homecoming on Main Street, to today in the halls of high school. It has been one community that has wrapped itself around Parker.

Parker Sebens: “Sometimes if I am feeling lazy and I don't want to do something and I will ask, 'Hey, can you help me with this?" and they will say, 'No, you can do it yourself,' so they know what I can and can't do, and they know not to baby me.”

Mitch Sebens: “He is probably more independent than all my kids who have all their limbs.”

He loves the lake.

Mitch Sebens: “He drives the jet ski around the lake. He has little trouble getting back on if he falls down out in the water."

And helping Dad on the farm.

Parker: “I am driving from the field to the house, which isn't dangerous. I just drive like a regular person; put my arms on the steering wheel and drive away."

He sure has changed. A shy little boy with big brown eyes who could not get enough of LEGO and Pokemon, now a young man with a girlfriend thinking about college.

Mitch Sebens: “You think to the future, and you wonder 'How are we going to get him there?' and he's just kind of done it on his own.”

Parker Sebens: "I think it's better to laugh about it than cry about it.

And along the way he has taught everyone some incredible, valuable lessons about life, and how to live it, and how to live it well.

Mitch: “Very proud, very proud. Still my hero.”

In a few months, Parker hopes to be driving his own car, which will be specially fitted equipment he will control with his feet.