When Jason Migchels lifted up his sleeve, dozens of little eyes stared intently.
The Watford area farmer had just finished telling a group of children about his life as a small child on the farm and the moment where he lost his arm.
Migchels was only three when he was watching his father unload some grain. He was curious and put his hand out to touch it as it rained down. His father saw the little boy and immediately turned off the auger beneath the grain, but it was too late. In a split second, the force of the grain pushed his little arm into the machine and his arm was gone.
Migchels lifted the sleeve of his polo shirt and showed the children at the Lambton Farm Safety Day at Dawn-Euphemia School Thursday the result – a stub with a big scar. And the room was silent.
Migchels says not everyone would be so graphic but he sees it as an important way to drive home the point of being aware and safe on the farm.
“They’ve got to see it,” says Migchels after the presentation. “It doesn’t affect them at all until they see the scars.”
About 150 children heard Migchel’s story and message to stay safe on the farm. They also heard about fire safety, being home alone, proper use of small equipment like lawnmowers and how to stay safe around tractors.
Some of the children seemed to have already heard the message, not a surprising fact since the Lambton Farm Safety Association has been holding the Safety Day for 20 years.
Migchels can see the difference in farm practices. “I think today it is because of organizations like this – a lot of people are more aware,” he says.
“My grandfather worked fairly unsafe, my father worked safer than my grandfather and I’m working safer than my dad. It’s because of stuff like this people are more aware.”
And Migchels hopes his story will help continue that tradition.
“I want to help out when I can. I’d hate to see a little kid get hurt or loose a limb of their own; that’s awful.”