Girl on a mission

The plastic, yellow rescue tubes at the Purdue University safety display at the National Farm Machinery Show in 2011 caught this young lady’s attention. Wylie Schweizer began asking questions.

“After I learned how dangerous flowing grain can be and how the rescue tubes might help save someone’s life, I wanted to help bring this technology to our community,” Schweizer says. “It looked like a set of grain rescue tubes could be a real asset to our small community.”

Schweizer is president of the Randolph Southern FFA Chapter at Lynn. She also was motivated when hearing about Kyle Kerr, who died when submerged in a grain truck in fall 2010. Kerr lived in Franklin County.

Key Points

Yellow rescue tubes at show intrigue Wylie Schweizer.

Local FFA raises $9,000-plus for two tubes, firefighter training.

“They told me we couldn’t do it, but we did,” Schweizer says.

There was just one problem. “They told me it couldn’t be done,” Schweizer recalls. “People said we couldn’t come up with enough money to buy a rescue tube for our area.”

Strong will

The people who said that don’t know Schweizer very well, explains her ag science instructor and FFA adviser, Amy Alka. “When Wylie decides she wants to accomplish something and puts her mind to it, she usually succeeds,” Alka says.

Before long Schweizer had the chapter members behind her. Then she built excitement in the community, talking to the fire departments and making key contacts. Soon the project to purchase a rescue tube for the community, and train firefighters and farmers about grain bin safety and rescue operations took on a life of its own.

Before she stopped, Schweizer had helped round up enough money for not just one grain rescue tube, but two. She also obtained funding from the Randolph County Farm Bureau to sponsor training on grain bin safety and the use of rescue tubes.

Altogether, purchase of the tubes and the training cost just more than $9,000, Alka says. Besides the money donated by the Randolph County Farm Bureau for training, the FFA chapter obtained a grant from the Whitewater Valley Rural Electric Membership Co-op. Local residents also donated money toward the cause.

The Randolph Southern FFA Chapter picked up the remaining tab, Alka says. The chapter raises money by operating a farm plot. Inspired by Schweizer, the chapter decided to invest it in this project. The chapter actually purchased the tubes, and then donated them to fire departments.

“We wanted to make sure we had one tube here in Lynn for this area, and we were able to do that,” Schweizer says. “I’m very happy we could make it happen.”


Dedicated and determined: Wylie Schweizer, president of her local FFA chapter, spearheaded the project that brought grain rescue tubes and a training exercise to Randolph County.

This article published in the March, 2012 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.