'For That Little Girl in Kansas'

My Generation

Mourning and praying for a family in one of the worst farm accidents imaginable.

Published on: October 28, 2013

On Monday, a family in Kansas gathered in a church to remember their little girl. Her name was Brooklyn and I didn't know her. But I read her story, thanks to Kansas friends. I can't stop thinking about her. Those of you who have already heard her story probably agree.

Brooklyn was five and was riding in the combine with her dad last Wednesday, as he cut beans. Reports are mixed, saying that she was either leaning against or sleeping against the windshield. They hit a bump. The windshield shattered. The little girl fell from the combine, onto the header, and was killed.

Gut wrenching. Horrifying. Sick-to-my-stomach with goosebumps, at the very thought of this possibly happening. On our farm. To our child. To this poor child.

The very notion of this story is like a punch in the gut to anyone who's ever let their child ride in anything. Or to any of us who ever rode in that spot as a child. I can hardly count the hours I spent as a child with my head bouncing off the window of the XT.

And maybe it's because we have a little five-year-old ourselves. I cannot imagine. I cannot imagine that poor father. During parent-teacher conferences last Friday, I stood in the hallway and cried with a fellow farmwife/teacher friend, shedding tears over a little girl and a family we don't know but for whom we are completely heartbroken. My five-year-old has repeatedly prayed "for that little girl in Kansas."

Clearly, it was a freak accident. The odds of something like that happening are so miniscule. In terms of childhood deaths, she was likely safer riding in that combine than riding in a car on the interstate. And yet, it's not the first windshield I've heard blow out. The same happened to a northern Illinois farmer friend a couple years ago, but due to cab pressure problems. And my husband reminded me that when we first received the Case tractor that we won use of through the Illinois Farm Bureau Achievement Award, the gasket had slipped and the front windshield was about to fall out.

I suppose the question is, what do we do with this? Do we stop our children from riding in the tractor or the combine with us? I don't think that's the answer; my kids have spent hours and hours of quality time, strapped into the buddy seat. Safety folks would call that the training seat.  My little Nathan has spent hours there, singing songs with Mr. Jerry, our farm employee, whom he dearly loves. He's had deep conversations with Grandpa and with Dad. Caroline and Jenna, too, singing songs, asking a million questions.

And there's the flip side: when our neighbor, Curt, was nearly crushed beneath his corn head 15 years ago, it was the young neighbor boy riding with him who was able to help him. He'd asked so many questions and paid so much attention while riding in that buddy seat, that Curt was able to tell him what to push in order to raise the head up off of him.

In the end, the best we can do is pray a deep prayer for this family. For a father who will carry this forever. For a family that will have to go on without a sparkly little girl. For the emergency crews that no doubt had to help that day.

Hug your babies close. And have the safest harvest you possibly can.

Post Tags: Farm Bureau

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  1. Shay says:

    I didn't know Brooklyn, but I did know her uncle Jeremiah and her grandparents. I know their family would never have allowed their children to do anything unsafe. to those of you blaming the family, how dare you! You don't know them and this was a terrible accident... The family lost Jeremiah in September and Brooklyn in October... Have a heart and remember that it could have happened to anyone. God takes us when he needs us.

  2. b will says:

    John Deere window are defectively made. They break too easily. Ask the custom cutters. This desgn flaw needs to be addressed. Horrible event. Feel for the family.

  3. faith grasso of yahoo says:

    It is a Tragedy that could have been avoided all together by leaving the kids in the home when serious farming equipment is in use....I wouldn't even let a dog lose while operating that hugh machine....please farmers, leave the kids inside until they are 13 and more responsible enough to understand the dangers....your in my prayers little one.....faith g

    • Vicky says:

      Wow did you even think that there is a possibility that this little girls father might read your comment? I will pray for you and your fear of life. This father loved his daughter very, very, much. I will pray for you and a heart that would kick a man when he is down.

    • Darian says:

      I have two young daughters that have rode with me for many years in farm equipment.This is such a sad story and cant even emagine what this family is going through it would be horrible. I'm so sorry to hear about this. My thoughts and prayers go out to this family.

    • Darian says:

      I had a relative that was caught in a combine head when he was working on it.He left it running and the head was plugged up so he crawled out and was cleaning it out and his dog was left in the cab.The dog had leaned over into the controls and started the head into gear and it piulled him into it.Today he is without his legs all for having a dog riding with him.

  4. Therese Symons of Facebook says:

    I too am crying for people I don't know. Please accept my prayers and know that God is comforting her. Please pray for the father and family; they need God's love right now.

  5. Randy Albers says:

    I am wiping the tears from my eyes as I am typing this .This little girl Brooklyn is among a very blessed group of Angles,looking over all of us. I am the one that feels blessed

  6. Kelly of www.oldbluesilo.com says:

    We definitely can't keep kids from agriculture. I followed this accident in the news and yes, it is gut wrenching. I don't have kids myself, but I have nieces and nephws, good friends with kids and it's so great to be able to teach their inquisitive minds at a young age. These accidents can happen to anybody, anywhere, anytime. It can happen in a car, boat, plane, school bus, sporting event and even the library. If we do remove kids from agriculture, at what age do we allow them to participate again? They need to learn safety and respect for the machinery at a young age or we will be raising a group of scared farmers. We can't let that happen. That farmer with the little girl wouldn't want that to happen. What we can do is make sure our environment is safer for chidlren. We can perform daily maintenance checks. Follow dealership instructions when it comes to recalls. Education is the key, not removing the child from agriculture. That is my thought! Great write up. It's a story that has tugged at so many heart strings.

  7. CARLENE F WENDEL of google says:

    Our Lord has a plan for all of us. Sometimes the results of our decisions brings about disasters and sadness. God was wanting a sweet little angel that day and picked this little sweetheart. The parents of this little girl will see her in Heaven some day. My heart goes out to those that lost her. May God give them comfort in their grief... My prayers are for them..

  8. Ilboudo of www.acts-burkina.org says:

    I do not know this precious one, but my heart goes out to the family and all the friends in Kansas. May the Holy Spirit bring comfort to all! Deepest sympathy to all.

  9. Rachel Kitch says:

    Thanks for this article. I grew up with her mom and it is awful and my heart aches for them. But I also grew up riding on farm equipement and have driven it now with my nieces, nephews, and kids along side me. Prayers for all and everyone who has been in tragedies like this

  10. Ken Ciboski says:

    Some lawyer could get hold of this and bring a product liability lawsuit.

    • lisa says:

      that's not the issue right now. Money doesn't solve any problems at this point. comments like this belong someplace else...is this what their family and friends want to read? think before you type, please.

      • Vish says:

        Lisa, while I appreciate and agree with what you are saying--the sooner the product manufacture is made responsible for any defect (IF that's the case, I have a feeling these windshields are not made for leaning) the sooner they can take action to correct any issues. Therefore, possibly preventing another child being in such a terrible accident. Money isn't the issue, money will not bring the child back, and money will not help the family with their grief--however, almost always--money is the only way these large companies take notice and work to help prevent additional tragedies. ;-)

  11. Becky says:

    Thank you for the beautiful article. I have cried everyday since I heard of this tragedy. I went to school with the father of this child. My heart is broken for him, his wife, and their 2 older children.

  12. Joan says:

    This is not the first windshield that has given way with a child up against it. Every time I see children pressed up against the windshields I cringe. Please get this story out - those windshields have shattered more than once. As a farm family that has lost someone in a farming accident we know first hand the tragedy that goes with this type of story. Combines costs so much I do not understand why shatterproof glass is not a requirement - the cost is insignificant in the overall price. Thoughts to that family......

  13. Joanna Bruns of Ohio Farmer says:

    It was just two weeks ago my granddaughter from Texas was riding in our combine for the first time. If I would of known this before hand I would of been nervous. I think a law needs to be passed for buddy seats to have seat belts, driver too

    • Mike Tipton of farmer says:

      They already do all have seatbelts .....

  14. Jeannie says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

  15. Jeffrey A. McCollum says:

    My family was talking about this tragedy this past weekend, and I remember sitting in this same position in my dad's John Deere combine when I was young, I sat with my back against the bottom glass, millions of times....Also now my 5 year old Jordyn likes to ride with her grandpa in the combine, but belted in the buddy seat beside him. Thoughts and Prayers go out to the family and families affected.

  16. mary gonzalez says:

    My Father just passed away last week. He was 88. I rode with him many times on the tractor and it is one of the memories I treasure the most.

  17. Janet Macy says:

    My husband's & my heart have been breaking this week. They will spend months and maybe the rest of their lives saying "If only . . . . . ". Great article. Our children have all grown up riding in the cabs of various implements. As parents of a teenager who died in a farm accident, we have an immense sense of disbelief and grief. Another farm family has entered the ranks of a group that no on wants to be in - and a group who wants no more members. Prayer. They needs lots of prayer and lots of support. 4 months from now, they will still be needing meals and help. We know. We've been there.

    • Jeffrey A. McCollum says:

      Well said Janet....Yes they will need everyones help....And yes Janet, I miss Terry and think about him often. I went to school with him at CCCHS, and we were in FFA together. Thoughts and Prayers to little Brooklyn and her family, and a prayer to your family Janet as well.

  18. Janean Decker says:

    My prayers are with the family of Brooklyn. My prayer is that you feel the presence of the Lord as you go through this tragic time in your life. I have lost a child too and know those emotions. Lord, please wrap your arms around this family

  19. Erin Kelly of erinkelly1958@yahoo.com says:

    I'm so sorry for your loss!.

  20. cassidy says:

    It's like you've read my mind all week. I have a 5 year old blonde baby too who just last weekend had rode with me and others in the combine -leaning against the glass. I grew up the same way. What do you do? Breaks my heart and terrifies me all that same time.

  21. Tauy Scott says:

    My heart goes out to the family of this little angel. As a farm child myself, I remember riding on the tractor with my father and grandparents. It is a very treasured memory. I think farm children are raised from day with one with responsibilities including safety, but with that comes an increased exposure for accidents. It is such a tragedy any time an accident of any kind involves a child, I can not imagine the loss of a child, so I offer my deepest sympathies.

  22. shayna says:

    It makes me sick as well..I've had my kids by the window in the combine and couldn't even imagine that happening...this is so sad...as a farmers fiance and mom of farm kids my heart and prayers are with this family!! Remember god needed your angel!

    • ed says:

      so sorry that this tragedy happened.my heart goes out to the family