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8 yr old SK farmboy saves father pinned under combine header

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Feb 15, 2005
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ne alberta
Farm Boy Proves to be Little Lifesaver

Angela Hall

July 14, 2005

BIG BEAVER -- An eight-year-old boy who watched his father get pinned beneath a piece of heavy farm equipment climbed behind the wheel of the family pickup truck and drove several kilometres for help.

Family and neighbours are hailing James Amell and his little sister Neely as heroes for their part in rescuing their dad, Don Amell, a 39-year-old farmer.

Neely, 7, comforted her dad while James navigated the hilly rural roads for more than an hour in search of a neighbour over the noon hour on July 6.

Don had taken his kids to an unoccupied farmyard about 10 kilometres east of Big Beaver, a tiny Saskatchewan village near the U.S. border, to retrieve a combine header, the apparatus at the front of the combine that cuts the crop. The 24-foot-long (or seven-metre-long) piece of equipment was on a trailer that had a flat tire, and Don wanted to take it back to their farm southwest of Big Beaver to have it ready to use at harvest.

"I tried pumping (the tire) up first but it wouldn't hold any air, so then I got a jack and I blocked everything up," recalled Don, back at home after six days in a Regina hospital. When Don removed the tire, the blocks, which were on ground softened by recent rains, gave way under the enormous weight of the header.

"When I looked up, the whole thing was coming down on me, on my left leg, and just pinned me there."

James and Neely, who had been waiting in the safety of the truck, began screaming and ran to their dad.

"The two little jiggers, they're trying to lift the weight off me saying 'Pull your leg out, Dad, pull your leg out.'

"There's nobody around for a good four, five miles. I said to my boy: 'James, you're just going to have to take the truck and find somebody.'"

The eight-year-old perched himself on the edge of the seat of the Dodge Ram 2500 in order to reach the pedals. He set out on an eight-kilometre drive to a neighbour's place, only to find nobody home.

James turned the truck around and headed back to his dad, who, lying in pain in the blistering sun, gave him directions to another neighbour, Boyd and Emily Sjogren's, about five kilometres away.

The whole experience was "scary," said James on Wednesday. "I just kept on going."

At one point, the back wheel of the truck went into the ditch. "I had to put it in four-wheel drive. I'd seen my mom and dad use it," said James, who'll enter Grade 4 in the fall. "There was mud flying everywhere."

James found the Sjogren's at home and calmly asked for help, leading the couple back to his father where Boyd jacked up the header to relieve the pressure on Don.

"We have no cell coverage down there so I had to drive back home to phone 9-1-1 and give them directions," Emily Sjogren said Wednesday. "Then I went back and stayed with Don while my husband went up to the highway and waited for the ambulance to direct them down to the site."

Don, who spent about an hour-and-a-half pinned to the ground, was taken to hospital in Bengough and on to Regina. His left femur was broken and he had a rod put in his leg from his pelvis to his knee. Parts on the header also punctured his leg.

That happened just up the road from us. The roads that the little boy had to drive aren't very good. It is getting to be pretty sparesly populated area anymore. It was a guard that went right thru the muscle of his leg. Fortunatly it didn't hit a artery.
see that is why you should always make kids familiar with what is going on. I shall commend the boy for his observance of what his parents do. his sister for her motherly instincts and,keeping daddy company and probably calm . this is an excellent example for letting kids learn to drive early. and stay in practice. bet you couldnt find a kid in the city who could do all that. and besides the youngster will have something for show and tell when he goes back to school.
Don is back home with a pinned Femur and last I heard doing fine Just going to take time to heal.
Yes those kids did a great job for there Dad and we should all be proud of what these farm raised kids can do and how they can handle a crisis.
When the news talked about the 8 year old hero from BIG MUDDY I said to the wife I read posts from a big muddy rancher all the time I wonder if there is any connection

Just to hear the big muddy mentioned gave me a strange feeling .
How this web site has made a family of the members and how when anyone has a family problem we all feel it

regards from the garden province
Suzuki Cultus
Yes this World Wide Web has shrunk the world in size. I don't know Don that well as he was not raised here but married a local girl and bought a farm south of Big Beaver. I live east of big Beaver 20 miles and don't make it to town much and Don has a off farm job as well at the coal mine at Coronach, SK.

Have you ever run into Joan Perrin down in PEI . She was with the Beef information center for a long time out of Regina then she and her husband retired to PEI and she was quite involved with Atlantic Beef. She is also running a Bed and Breakfast or summer cottage but I can't remember just exactly the location.

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