The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A year after

The 35W bridge collapse, Ron Engebretsen says, 'God continues to be gracious to us'

Seated in his tidy living room in Shoreview, Minn., Ron Engebretsen is intensely candid about last Aug. 1 when the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed—and about his life since. There have been days, he said, “that were so hard I could hardly breathe.”

His wife Sherry’s classic Mercedes 280 was on the last section of road to clear the water—just a few feet from safety—when the bridge gave way and her car tipped back. Sherry, 60, director for marketing of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Minneapolis, was one of 13 who died.

Scott Streble<BR><BR>Ron Engebretsen
Ron Engebretsen credits his faith and faith community with helping him and daughters Jessica and Anne make it through this first year without wife and mother. Sherry Engebretsen died Aug. 1 in the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis.
As Engebretsen and his daughters, Anne and Jessica, waited anxiously for news of Sherry and searched desperately for her, they unwittingly became the face of families affected by the tragedy as they appeared on network television stations.

“When that bridge went down I knew something wasn’t right. I knew it in my gut,” Engebretsen said, thinking back to that night.

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February issue


Embracing diversity