Kaitlyn Kerr is a typical farm girl and typical college sophomore at Hanover College, except for one thing – she has a keen interest in farm safety, and helping others who live on farms or in rural areas avoid injuries and fatalities.
Kerr is so dedicated, in fact, that the Franklin County youth will be the Farm Safety Just for Kids Indiana Outreach coordinator until 2014. She replaces Sarah Correll, a former state officer and now Purdue University student, who served as the outreach coordinator before Kerr.
So why is she so drawn to the topic? Her brother, Kyle, perished on the family farm in the fall of 2010. His dad, Gary, has told the story before to Indiana Prairie Farmer. He became trapped in a wagonload of shelled corn with the wagon unloading into an auger, and suffocated. He was 13.
"Growing up people say your siblings just aren't your siblings, they are your best friends," Kerr says. "I never knew that until I lost Kyle. We did everything together from getting dirty in the creek to playing video games all through the night. He used to always say, "I'm not going to college, I'm going to farm."
"He was the kind of kid that would get on the school bus every morning with his cowboy boots on and not care what people thought of him. He was born to farm and carry out what my family started," she adds.
Unfortunately, on a crisp October day, he lost that chance. "Now all I want to do is reach out to children and teenagers about the dangers of farming," Kaitlyn says. "I want people to hear my story about not only losing my brother but my best friend to what many families around our country love doing – farming. Kyle will forever hold a special place in my heart and so will farming."