VASA -- After seeing how much a flatbed pilot lift changed his life, Ryan Buck wants to raise money to help other disabled farmers take advantage of this adaptive equipment.
Buck, who farms with his wife’s family near Vasa, was injured in a snowmobile accident in February 2008. That accident left him paralyzed from mid-chest down.
With hand controls on his truck and tractor, Buck has been able to continue farming in recent years, but it required someone else, running a forklift with a seat mounted on it, to get him in the cab so he could work. Since last October, after he purchased the flatbed lift, he has been able to do that himself.
“The lift will swing all the way around to the driver’s door of the pickup,” Buck said. "I can get from the driver’s seat of the pickup onto the seat of the lift. I can get myself into a tractor, a combine, or another truck if I need to drive it. Anything I need to get myself into, this thing will get me into it.”
When Buck is driving the pickup, the lift is folded on the platform behind the pickup cab in transport mode. When he is ready to operate the lift, he uses a remote control about the size of an iPhone which allows him to control the movement of the arm and seat.
“I can lift myself up as high as about 15 feet,” he said. “When the arms are straight out, I can get about 15 feet away from the pickup. I need to be about 12 feet away from anything that I want to get into, so that I have enough room to maneuver.”
Buck first saw the lift five years ago on the website of Life Essentials, a company in Wolcott, Indiana. Two years ago, he purchased the pickup, knowing that he wanted to get the lift when he had saved some money.
That time came last September when he drove to Indiana. Life Essentials removed the factory box off the pickup and installed the flatbed and lift. They gave him instruction and practice on how to safely operate the lift. He drove back to Minnesota, and 10 days later, he was using the lift in the field.
It was clear to Buck that this equipment made a big difference in his life and his ability to work independently. He decided that he wanted to raise money to help other disabled farmers have access to adaptive equipment that might help them in their lives.
He has started a GoFundMe page at gf.me/v/c/jvmb/pvsqe-giving-back-to-those-in-need. Buck said if people prefer to send a check, they can mail it to Helping Harvest, ℅ Ryan Buck, 1003 First Ave., Goodhue, MN 55027. Anyone with questions about the fundraiser can also contact Buck at 651-764-2164.