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Living history

15 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 1, 2002 Pioneer Journal

• Farmer still recovering after accident

Just more than six months after the power takeoff on his tractor almost took his life, Andrew Kesler has started to button his shirt and pants on his own.

"When I pick something up, I have to make sure I actually have it in my hand because I can't feel it," Kesler said.

On Jan. 28, the day of the incident, Kesler, 69, went to his son's house to get a load of hay just east of Sebeka, when he decided to unload some wood. While doing so, his jacket started to be sucked into the unshielded power takeoff shaft of his tractor. His clothing was wrapped so tightly that it was like tourniquets around his arms.

Kesler broke his right shoulder blade and two ribs were crushed in the accident. He broke his shoulder blade by bracing himself and pushing up on the PTO to make the tractor stop. He was outside in six-degree weather for just over three hours that day. By the time emergency personnel arrived, his hands had turned black from the loss of circulation in his arms. His temperature was only 81 degrees when emergency personnel arrived.

Doctors told Kesler that the body shuts down at 80 degrees.

"Like I said before, I got in a hurry and I was careless," Kesler said. "Now I make sure that the tractor is off before I ever get off. If I were to fall, I wouldn't be able to catch myself because my arms aren't strong enough yet."

To help regain some of his strength, Kesler works with five-pound hand weights. Occupational therapists have also told him to work with putty and balls.

He has regained most of the feeling in his left hand and recently regained feeling in his right pinky finger. He doesn't have feeling in the rest of his right hand and he is right-handed.

65 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 7, 1952 Pioneer Journal

• 'Skywatch' begins here Friday on limited basis

In regard to Observation Skywatch, "Wadena is still playing second fiddle to some of our surrounding communities," said Supervisor V.J. Vogel this week. He did announce the Wadena post is now in operation on a limited basis only, with the first watch going on duty last Friday morning.

Eleven more volunteers have been signed up the past week and the number of observers has been raised to 46.

A Tuesday night's school for the GOC, Vogel announced that Robert Jones was now chief of assigning hours, but so far as possible, volunteers would be allowed to select the time and day they wished to work in the post.

It was also announced that Mrs. Laura Tullgren had been appointed assistant chief observer and would have charge of the women who had volunteered to stand watch and to assist them in selecting hours and days to their convenience.

A schedule for those who has agreed to man the tower was posted. It will be noted that in some instances a lone observer will be in the tower and it is the hope of Jones that where there is only one, that one will go on a personal recruitment campaign to get a partner.