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24 May, 2008 - Get Involved, for Safety’s Sake

There are times when I feel I perhaps over-do the “farm safety” sermons in my column. Then I will receive a letter from a town in rural America with a newspaper clipping detailing the story of another tragic accident and the loss of life, and I realize we can’t talk enough about being careful on farms and ranches, because accidents don’t always happen to somebody else.

This week I share with you from the Spring edition of “4-H, The Power of Youth” the story of Carrie Nolan, a mother with a mission, who wants to make other families aware of the need for all-terrain vehicle safety after losing her two sons, seven-year old Justin and nine-year old Austin in an ATV accident on their farm in 2005. Note the ages, seven and nine.

This is not an attack on the all-terrain vehicle. The ATV is a necessary and valuable tool on farms and ranches across the country and it is a great recreational vehicle if you are old enough to operate it safely and properly. Every time I say a seven-year old or eight-year old is not old enough, I’ll hear from parents saying “my kids are old enough to drive an ATV” at that age. I just hope and pray they don’t lose their kids in an accident because they lacked judgment and experience.

Carrie Nolan has worked hard to promote the 4-H ATV Safety Program, a collaboration among local 4-H groups, National 4-H Council and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America’s ATV Safety Institute. The whole idea is to build awareness for safe riding practices as we continue to see more and more all-terrain vehicles purchased and enjoyed as a tool or recreational vehicle across the country. Carrie states it this way...”Our sons are what give me the drive to get the word out to other families about the dangers of ATV’s”.

This program gets kids and their parents thinking about the risks of riding ATV’s and how to avoid them by wearing proper safety gear, determining safe places to ride and making sure the ATV is the proper size for its rider.

Much like Marilyn Adams who formed “Farm Safety4 Just Kids” after losing her son in a grain wagon accident, Carrie Nolan is turning her grief into something positive to save lives on all-terrain vehicles. She can’t do it alone, so I strongly suggest that you as responsible parents get involved with your children in the 4-H program. You can get more information online at www.atv-youth.org. And remember, accidents don’t always happen to somebody else.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.


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