How much does Bill Field care about training others about practicing safety habits? Enough that he attended a special one day safety -training camp while only three weeks out of the hospital.
And it wasn't a hospital visit for something as simple as a broken finger or the like. He had full knee replacement on one knee! He made the trip from West Lafayette to Greencastle and presented to rotating groups all day because he believes in safety.
Perhaps his most poignant statement was what he said to open the event. About 100 people attended the R.I.L.E.Y. safety day that honored Riley Sutherlin, an FFA member and 4-H junior leader killed in a farm accident one year ago. Here is what Field said.
"Three weeks ago a surgeon cut my bone below and above the knee, and took out the entire knee. He replaced it with a metal and plastic artificial knee. Humility comes with such an operation. I'm used to being out and on the go. I've been using this walker for three weeks.
"We can replace many things today- or at least doctors can. They can replace knees, hips, corneas in your eyes- they can even form ears for people who lose them in some sort of accident.
"What is irreplaceable is you! We lose sight of that fact sometimes. Everybody gets caught up in their everyday life and what they are doing, and tend to forget basic safety rules sometimes.
"What we're trying to do today is help you remember that you are irreplaceable. Hopefully you can use some of the safety tips and you will practice them.
"The point is we are all special people. We are all irreplaceable. We all have unique talents and can make unique contributions to our world.
"When you get on that tractor with a ROPS, remember that it is there for a reason. When you buckle up your seat belt, understand that you are doing it for a reason. We have these things. We should treat them as gifts and learn to use and apply them as we can.
"Do you know what this knee replacement of mine cost? It cost $25,000 just for the knee itself. I just got the bill. But you are worth far more than $25,000. You are invaluable.
"By learning to follow safety habits and thinking about safety as you go about your daily life, here's our hope. I want you all to grow old enough so that you need replacements like this knee. I want you to be here so long you need parts that can be replaced."