By JOY McCLAIN
Mark Minnicus, Delphi, has been given moments in his 22 years that allow him to grasp just how fragile life can be. At 13, he was diagnosed with a grapefruit-sized brain tumor. The tumor was benign, but Mark still endured extensive brain surgery.
The story continues. At age 16, this farm boy rolled a Super H Farmall tractor, which resulted in a broken shoulder. And this summer he had yet another harrowing experience.
Still, this quiet, yet confident young man is full of life, brimming over with talents and accomplishments. He seems more determined than ever.
• This determined young farmer has faced more than one physical setback.
• Farm accidents can strike anyone at any time.
• The only remedy is to be as careful as possible — check and recheck.
On July 12, Mark was unloading feed next to the John Deere 4020 he’s driven since he was young. Unexpectedly, it came out of gear. Lurching forward and catching his leg, the tractor began to pull Mark down, pinning him against the ground. The 4020 then ran over his hip while rotating him to his stomach.
But the nightmare wasn’t over. The tractor rolled up over his back, across the side of his face and up his out-stretched arm. It finally came to rest when it hit the silo unloader.
Mark was alone, but he managed to get to his cell phone and call his dad, Jerry.
A parent’s worst fear
Jerry recalls the moment when he received Mark’s call. “He told me he needed an ambulance, and I couldn’t get to the farm fast enough!” he says. “Though it was only a few miles, it seemed like the drive took forever.”
Because there were no ambulances available in their area at the time, Mark waited in agony for over an hour for medical help. When it finally arrived, the decision was made to lifeline him to Parkview Hospital in Ft. Wayne. Miraculously, he only suffered a broken pelvis, bruised lung and harsh reminders where the tire tread marks covered his back to his hand.
After a couple of days in intensive care and surgery, which included insertion of a screw in his hip, he began the long road to recovery. After weeks of being bedridden and confined to a wheelchair, he just recently began walking again. His muscles are building back up, and he’s stronger each day. And he’s ready!
He’s ready to get back to work, but he insists he’ll no longer take anything for granted. He believes he’ll have a tendency to check and recheck things, just for safety’s sake.
It could happen to anyone
One of the most surprised people to hear of Mark’s recent accident was Brian Mills, New Boston, Ill. He operates a large farm where Mark interned while attending the Muscatine Ag science center in Muscatine, Iowa. Mills insists Mark was one of the best students he’s ever worked with around machinery.
Shocked to hear of the accident, Mills visited Mark while he recuperated.
“If an accident could happen to Mark, then it could happen to anyone,” Mills says. “Personally, it makes me more aware that I’d better be careful.”
This article published in the October, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.