January 12, 2022

Pinke Offers Inspirational Message

By Terry Schwartzenberger

Twenty-four-year-old Hunter Pinke made a talking tour stop at the Napoleon School last Tues., Jan. 4. Pinke offered words of inspiration to two groups of students following his accident in 2019 which left him paralyzed. He offered a talk to students grades K-6 and then to students grades 7-12.

Pinke engaged the grade school students in a ‘follow his lead’ clapping contest to get things started and then concluded his talk with a race involving himself and fourth grader Greydyn Ryum, who was selected from the students, as well as a clapping championship.

Pinke, who grew up in nearby Wishek said he was like every other kid in small town North Dakota. He played basketball, football, track and field, baseball, was involved in FFA, science fair, science Olympiad, band, choir, piano and drama and speech. “I was a lot like you guys - I did all those things,” said Pinke from his wheelchair.

He noted he set an early goal, as a fifth grader, that someday he would play basketball for UND in Grand Forks, just like his grandfather, Fred. However, that dream of Pinke’s changed when his best friend Zach was killed in a car accident on June 23, 2015. However, since losing his best friend, he said another avenue opened for him as a football player. At 6’6” he was recruited to play the tight-end position on the UND football team. He noted his dream of playing basketball was changed to football.

Pinke told the students that just over two years ago he was involved in a. . .