TED KILROY will tell anyone it was the best experience of his life.
An admitted teenage screw-up who was flunking school, doing drugs and driving his family crazy, he liked the hard work of a cowhand’s life. He graduated from Deming High School and finished his Eagle Scout project.
“I never saw any abuse there,” Kilroy said of his time at the Tierra Blanca ranch, which was around 2004 and overlapped some with Terryk Carlsen.
He admires Scott Chandler and his family and their moral values, and credits them with helping overcome adversity that came later in his life.
In May 2005, while working on a ranch in Arizona, he was in a dirt bike accident that left his lower body paralyzed.
“The doctors said I would never walk again,” Kilroy said in a telephone interview.
He started working at a wheelchair store doing customer service. He went to junior college and learned how to do specialty welding on aluminum.
In 2009, he started working on the “Elegs” project at University of California at Berkley as a lead test subject. The program was written up in Time magazine for developing an exoskeleton to enable paralyzed people to walk.
Kilroy, now 26, credits his positive attitude and willingness to see past losing the use of his legs to the Chandler family.
“They literally saved my life,” Kilroy said.
TERRYK CARLSEN set foot on Tierra Blanca Ranch when he was 12 years old and says that for the next 27 months his life was a “hideous torture.”
Carlsen said he began having seizures that went untreated by any medical professional. Instead of informing
his parents, ranch employees accused him of faking the episodes. Later, they accused him of taking a weed to cause the seizures. He was at the ranch in 2004 and 2005.
He wrote the Journal a letter explaining that, after the seizures, he was punished with extra work shoveling manure or digging fence post holes. He said he was sent on extreme hikes.
His father, Tomas, backed up his son’s account in a telephone interview. His father said Terryk has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder and PTSD, and is now permanently disabled, unable even to drive a car.
His father said doctors determined that the failure to treat the seizures at the ranch was a major contributing factor to his current medical problems.
Terryk, now 21, said that during his time at the ranch he was scared, intimidated, not allowed to call home for months and his family received only a few of the letters he wrote.
Terryk said his mother was paying $2,000 a month for him to stay at Tierra Blanca.
When she could no longer afford that, “she was told to come and get me,” he wrote.
“I figured there was three ways to leave TBR: for my parents to run out of money, allow them to brainwash me, or die.”