Disclaimer: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing
The PEI farmer Ben Van Ginkel is on a long road to recovery, but he feels lucky to be alive and grateful for the support of his friends and neighbors.
The 23-year-old has his own farm in Ebenezer, but he also owns a self-propelled combine. A big part of his business is taking this harvester out on the road in the fall to bring the crop to other farmers. It is a busy period, lasting for weeks and with a working day of up to 20 hours.
And that’s not the only thing that keeps the family busy. Ben’s wife Rosa-Lynn gave birth to their third child last week.
On Saturday, Van Ginkel was at work when something was wrong with the combine, and he set about fixing it.
“I’ve done it before, a lot of times, and anyway, I missed my foot position and slipped, and my hand fell into knives,” he said.
“I was just lucky that one of my assistants hired next to me took care of me because [the] the bleeding was really bad, and he wrapped my arm and took me down the road to get to an ambulance. “
He was taken to hospital, but his hand could not be saved.
Help from neighbors
Van Ginkel has now been released from intensive care, but he is still in the hospital and in great pain.
The harvester is still in the fields, driven by an employee, and VanGinkel is doing his best to run the business from his hospital bed.
But he and his wife are far from alone in their troubles. Neighbors show up to help on the farm, and Ellen Peters, who lives next door, has helped start a GoFundMe campaign.
Peters is not a farmer herself, but she has always been impressed with their work ethic and sense of community.
“We live all around the farmers and we appreciate all the hard work,” she said.
“I find them all very, very hardworking and humble people. And like, they make such a tight-knit community.”
As of Wednesday morning, GoFundMe had raised over $ 30,000.
A long road to recovery
Van Ginkel is still figuring out how his life has changed and how quickly.
“It’s going to be a big change for me. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to operate the harvester without my right hand,” he said.
“[It] just happened so quickly. I don’t even remember everything. “
There are about three weeks left in harvest season and Van Ginkel can’t wait to return, but has been told his recovery will take time. He has just come out of intensive care and has not yet started his rehabilitation.
In the meantime, he is grateful for the support of his community.
“The amount of messages and phone calls and people have seen me is beyond,” he said.
“I don’t even have words to say how grateful I am.”