Wearing a heavy flannel shirt as a jacket, Jim Smith went into his backyard to clean his manure spreader on the evening of April 4. After doing some farm work, he had pulled the spreader behind his house so he could spray it out with his garden hose.
He started the tractor and engaged the power takeoff to operate the conveyor chain in the bottom of the spreader box, then turned on the water.As he walked along the side of the spreader, the tail of his flannel shirt wrapped around the drive shaft on the outside of the box. He couldn't free himself and soon his legs in rubber knee boots were entangled in the shaft. Jim's wife and son responded quickly to his calls for help. But before they could turn off the power drive, Jim's body had been pulled into the mechanism.
Emergency personnel soon arrived, but needed 45 minutes to disassemble the spreader to free Jim. He lost his left leg below the knee, dislocated his right ankle and right shoulder, and suffered nerve damage, deep burns and large wounds.
He was fortunate to survive the accident and later made a remarkable recovery considering the extent of the injuries. However, he was taken away from his small farm at a crucial time.
But members of the Smith's Sunset Ward, Kaysville Utah Stake, mobilized immediately to help. They were joined by members of surrounding wards, and other friends.
Neighbors plowed and planted the Smith's fields in corn and alfalfa. Later, they hauled and stacked the hay. The Sunset Ward Young Men and Young Women cleaned the yard around the house and planted flowers. Young men from three wards worked on a ditch that needed to be dug. Ward members planted and helped care for a garden.
A friend from one of the Smith's previous wards spearheaded the construction of a ramp and deck to provide easier access to the house. Other friends volunteered to remodel the ground level of the two-level home, making the bathroom wheelchair accessible.
In return for the service and expressions of concern, Brother and Sister Smith, their children and grandchildren provided a picnic for their friends and neighbors in a Kaysville park. A crowd turned out to see Jim, and he demonstrated his recovery by walking around and personally greeting many of the well-wishers.