For most people, the Christmas season brings forth the spirit of giving and helping others. On December 17th, Ohio AgrAbility staff had the privilege of presenting a new Kubota RTV-X1100 utility vehicle to Guernsey County cattle farmer Wells Collins.
Wells has been farming in Guernsey County since he was a teenager. He bought his first tractor at the age of sixteen, with a little help from his dad and the local Farm Credit. His farming career was put on hold when was drafted to serve in the Army during the Korean War. While serving near the front lines in North Korea, Wells was injured in the leg by a rusty piece of rebar. Within a few days after removing the rebar and being sewed back up, Wells was sent back to his unit in North Korea to serve until they returned to the states.
Upon his return stateside, Wells became a federally licensed electrician and continued to farm and raise cattle. In 1981 he was diagnosed with cancer in his left leg and hip, and it was determined the cause was from the rebar injury in Korea. Ultimately Wells had to have the leg and hip amputated. This might had been a setback to Wells, but in his optimistic nature, he forged forward and continued to farm. He adapted to his new situation by using crutches to get around, and engineering hand clutches to continue to operate the tractors on his farm. Wells has even helped other area farmers throughout the years to do the same with their tractors, so they could continue to farm after health issues made it difficult for them to operate machinery.
Wells became a client with Ohio AgrAbility after it became harder for him to get around on the farm due to his disability. After having a farm assessment completed, it was evident that Wells needed a UTV to help him get around on the farm, complete chores, and get new calves in from the hills of his Guernsey County farm. Funding such a piece of equipment was not in his budget, nor was there any assistance through OOD and the VA. AgrAbility was able to take advantage of funds awarded to it through a grant from the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to purchase the Kubota RTV.
On a cold day in December, Wells Collins did not just get a piece of equipment, but he received the opportunity to keep farming and sharing his farming heritage with his children and grandchildren.
Submitted by Andy Bauer