A tragic farming accident in April of this year resulted in Pender farmer Kurt Kaser losing his left leg.
While moving grain into a bin on his farm, Kaser got his leg trapped in a rotating auger and had to amputate it using his pocketknife.
“I couldn’t get out and I didn’t know how long I would remain conscious,” he said. “That’s when I thought of my pocketknife.”
After cutting through his mangled leg, Kaser was still in possession of his faculties enough to shut down the tractor and the truck. He didn’t have a cell phone, so he dragged himself about 200 feet to his office. He called his son, Adam, a member of the Pender Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.
After being taken to the Pender Community Hospital, Kaser was flown, via helicopter, to Lincoln. There, he underwent surgery. The next two weeks he spent convalescing at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln.
Since returning home, Kaser has been adjusting his lifestyle – somewhat. While missing an appendage slows him down, it hasn’t stopped him from maintaining an active role on his 1,500-acre farm, with his 3,000-head hog operation or the trucking businesses.
“I haven’t been sitting around with my thumb up my bum,” he said. “If I can stand and do it or use the walker and do it – I do.”
In fact, Kaser said he has almost worn out his walker. Adam has taken on a larger role with the farm and the hogs, he said.
“I really didn’t do too much with trucking,” Kaser said. “But, now [Adam] is pretty much doing it all.”
After farming for more than 40 years, he said he finds it difficult to sit still. But, he has taken the time to read the nearly 130 cards and letters he received.
“I’m still able to chase after parts,” Kaser said. “I can’t just sit around.”
He may be getting even more mobile in the near future. On Aug. 22, Kaser got a temporary prosthetic. The doctor is currently working on a permanent model.
Until then, he has been taking things one day at a time.
“It’s kind of been a good thing. It got me to quit smoking finally,” Kaser said. “Overall, I’m doing pretty darn good.”
Jon Burleson can be reached at email@example.com.