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Personal Tragedy Becomes Triumph for Community

Bring Kleenex and checkbook to Franklin County Fair Friday night.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

July 12, 2011

2 Min Read

Friday, July 15, 6 p.m. is a time that Franklin County residents will likely talk about for a long time. A special bittersweet dedication ceremony will be held at the fairgrounds during the Franklin County Fair, followed by a special auction to raise money for a memorial scholarship, and the regular livestock auction in the arena featuring the new announcers stand and Junior Leaders concession stand at 6:30 p.m.

On a quiet Saturday afternoon last October, Kyle Kerr slipped underneath the surface of a load of corn in a semi and perished. He left his father, Gary, mother, Rhonda, and three siblings behind to grieve and ask 'why?'

The community began supporting the Kerr family, Cedar Grove, almost immediately, from a huge funeral turnout to running the family's remaining crops. Then someone came up with the idea to build a new concession stand and announcers stand at the fairgrounds where Kyle loved to spend time with his dad, Gary, one of the volunteers who makes the fair tick.

"So many people helped with this project that I can't list them all," Gary says. "Money poured in, companies donated materials, and people showed up to work. It's a fitting tribute that should be here a long time."

The building will be officially dedicated Friday evening at 6 p.m. at the fairgrounds on the south side of Brookville in the Franklin County Park. A stone memorial inlaid into the wall of the building honoring Kyle will be unveiled.

That's only half the story. A donated pig will be auctioned, with money that everybody gives totaled to start a scholarship fund in Kyle's honor through the Franklin County Community Foundation.

The money will be used for a scholarship fund for future graduates from Mt. Carmel School, Franklin County High School and/or a 4-H member.

If you can't attend the auction, and even if it's after July 15, you can still contribute to the scholarship fund. Rex Rosenberger, a 4-H volunteer and friend of the family, is coordinating donations. Send your donation to: Franklin County Community Foundation, c/o Rex Rosenberger, 7037 Dorrel Road, Brookville, IN 47012.

Tragic events can't be undone. But something very special can come form something very horrific. Hoosiers, specifically those in southeastern Indiana, are proving that once again.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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