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Indiana Farmer Turns Accident into Way to Talk About Safety

Indiana Farmer Turns Accident into Way to Talk About Safety
2014 Indiana Master Farmer Jack Maloney has become ambassador for safety, living with disability.

The world changed in an instant for Jack Maloney on a November day several years ago. His arm was caught in an auger. Eventually, he lost most of his arm and was fitted with a prosthesis.

There are two options when an accident like that that happens. You can withdraw and avoid talking about the accident or the loss of mobility as much as possible. Or, you can play with the hand you've been dealt and try to help others both understand why safety is important, and that life isn't over just because you have an injury severe enough to require a prosthesis.

Living testament: Jack Maloney is an advocate for safety and an inspiration to those who also have disabilities of various kinds.

With the support of his wife, Rita, Maloney chose the second fork in the road. He has become an advocate for telling his story. Part of the message is about the need to practice safety. Around a grain center everyone needs to know what the other person is doing at all times.

Lock-out switches on electrical boxes which you can put in place when you're working on a particular part of the system by yourself can prevent someone else form turning it on, not knowing you're there. It's just one part of the message.

Related: Spring Farm Safety Could Hinge on a Hitch Pin!

"Jack has also appeared on billboards and in TV commercials," Rita says. "He's often asked to come speak because his story inspires other people who are struggling with some sort of injury."

Maloney will speak at a safety meeting hosted by Bunge in Morristown later this month. Some of his more memorable appearances are when he speaks to school children. He's not always talking about safety – sometimes it's about how farmers produce food today or the need for consumers to understand why farmers do what they do, but the children soon get the dual message of his being there.

Jack also says he is forever grateful for the neighbors who stepped in and finished his harvest during the year when he was injured. It's a part of the story he makes sure to include.

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