In July 2010, Jacob Ross and his family learned distracted driving can occur on farm equipment. In a matter of seconds, Jacob's life changed dramatically. Upon approaching and climbing into a tractor and pulling a blade, Jacob's cell phone slipped out of his pocket and landed just in front of the tractor's back tire. Jacob made eye contact with his brother, Jackson, before climbing down to retrieve it; however, he neglected to do so with the man driving the tractor, who was distracted talking on his cell phone. The driver assumed Jacob had stepped back when he didn't see him, and as he put the tractor into gear, he ran over Jacob. Jackson quickly screamed and slapped the windows to get the driver's attention, helping avoid any further damage.
The blade sliced Jacob's arm so badly that only a few inches were still attached to his body. Jacob's diaphragm and lung were punctured, and his organs had been pushed up into his chest cavity. He had a crushed pelvis and broken vertebrae. He underwent several surgeries upon arriving at the hospital and during the days that followed. Jacob was practically unrecognizable with all the swelling. He spent a week in the pediatric intensive care unit and three weeks in the hospital, and required constant care when he came home. He was in a wheelchair and had to learn how to do everything again with intense physical therapy. Emotional trauma took a toll on his mother and his little brother, Jackson, who required therapy to help cope with what he witnessed the day of the incident and the weeks that followed.
Fast-forward to 2019, Jacob is now 19 and living his life as a full-time fifth-generation farmer. After Jacob's injury, his mother, Amanda Corley, knew she needed to share his story in hopes of saving other families from the same or a worse fate. For several years, she has spoken at local Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, talking to children about the importance of making eye contact with equipment operators and offering other tips for staying safe on the farm. She also speaks to volunteers and sponsors at Safety Day coordinator trainings. Corley shares her story in the book "Faith Through the Darkness," written by Ryan Curtis. A coloring book, "Jacob and the Tractor," was also created to reach a younger audience.
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Sadly, there are many stories like Jacob's, but many do not have such a happy ending. About every three days, a child dies due to an ag-related incident, and every day, nearly 33 children are injured due to an ag-related incident. Progressive Agriculture Safety Days were designed to provide the education, training and resources to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities. This includes at school and community events, as well as at summer farm shows. Our hope is for children to adopt safe practices, change unsafe behavior, and share what they learned with loved ones.
SEND A KID TO SAFETY DAY:
Don't Forget ... November 26th is Giving Tuesday!
A MODEST DONATION of only $13 can have a BIG IMPACT on children living in farming and rural communities near you. Make a safe investment by helping another child attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in his/her local community. Donating has never been easier with three ways to give:
1. Text "SAFETYDAY" TO 44321.
2. Visit our website, www.progressiveag.org, and select the "Donate Now" button.
3. Send your payment to Progressive Agriculture Foundation, P.O. Box 530425, Birmingham, AL 35253.
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