September 19, 2018 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  Aaron Wiese’s freak farm accident
  Aaron Wiese
  Wiese’s damaged hands.

It was the evening of Sunday, May 6, 2018, Aaron Wiese, and his father Tim, were wrapping up a day of field work on their farm between Wendell and Elbow Lake. They were unhitching a roller they had been using to flatten a freshly planted soybean field. Wiese, a 2017 graduate of West Central Area, had just finished his first year at Wahpeton State School of Science where he was majoring in Farm Management.

“The ag kids get out a month early to help with farming,” he said.

Aaron was between the tractor and the roller as he unhitched the pin and hydraulic hoses. Suddenly, the roller’s draw bar, free from the tractor, jumped up, and Aaron, instinctively grabbed it, putting both hands between the hydraulic cylinder and its mount. Pressure released on the cylinder and his hands were pinched.

After trying, unsuccessfully to release his son’s hands, Tim called 911. Soon, the Elbow Lake First Responders arrived, along with an ambulance from Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services in Elbow Lake. Using a backhoe, they were able to push the hitch down enough to release Aaron’s hands... or what was left of them. His little and ring fingers on his right hand were crushed, his middle finger severed and index finger cut off at the first knuckle. A finger on his left hand was dangling.

The ambulance crew cleaned his greasy and dirty hands as best they could, picked up the severed middle right hand finger and brought him to the hospital in Elbow Lake, where his hands were numbed in preparation for a helicopter ride and surgery at North Memorial Hospital in Minneapolis.

There, two fingers were amputated, and two were re-attached by Dr. George Landis. After four days, Aaron was released and went home, facing a very different summer than he had anticipated. Family and friends say Wiese, an avid hunter and basketball player, was mostly worried about how the accident would affect his ability to handle a gun and a basketball.

After a month for the bones to grow together, he spent the rest of the summer going to physical therapy in Alexandria where, remarkably, his re-attached fingers regained nearly all their mobility. Wiese has started his sophomore, and final year, at Wahpeton, and has quite a story to tell classmates. He is contemplating what he will do next year.

“I will either go on to a four-year school or start farming.”

He can dribble and shoot a basketball and, after some practice, learned how to handle a gun in time for hunting season.

Meanwhile, he drives to and from school every day and is helping his dad get ready for harvest, while trying not to think about what happened in May.

Since his accident, Wiese has heard his share of farm accident horror stories. But that doesn’t stop him from loving farming, and he realizes that while accidents happen, it pays to be aware of what you are doing at all times.

“It was just a freak accident,” he said. “I did learn to stand away from draw bars, etc. when you release pressure on them.”

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September 18, 2018