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WALLA WALLA — When fans of Nels Hadden gather Sunday, March 4, for his “Live Big, Love Hard” memorial event, it’s reasonable to presume there won’t be enough hours in the day to adequately celebrate all that Hadden meant to them and their communities.

Hadden, a Pilot Rock native son, died Feb. 10 at his home in Walla Walla, just days after the 14th anniversary of the collision that could have ended his life in 2009 but instead rendered the husband and father of two paralyzed in all four limbs.

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Nels Hadden in a playful holiday moment.

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Nels Hadden poses for a photo outside a custom-built hunting blind. With a specialized wheelchair and a lot of practice, Hadden was able to resume one of his most-treasured activities, despite having lost the use of his limbs in a 2009 collision.

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Nels Hadden poses for a photo with his dog, Bentley.

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Nels and Betsy Hadden on their wedding day, Sept. 24, 1989.

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Nels Hadden and his dog, Bentley travel together. Hadden, a native of Pilot Rock who also lived in Milton-Freewater and Walla Walla, became quadriplegic in 2009 when a car struck him. He and his wife, Betsy, formed Accessible Walla Walla. Hadden died Feb. 10, 2023. He was 60.

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