Alvin Eusterbrock has learned how to open a door carrying a package, how to load a syringe to vaccinate cattle, and how to put something in the vice grip and tighten it up.
All those things sound easy enough, but Alvin has had to accomplish the tasks with one hand and arm.
In the late fall of 2004, Alvin, a full-time farmer raising hogs, lost his left arm in a farming accident.
He was hauling manure to the field and stopped to clean the spreader. He said he knew the routine of turning off the power take off (PTO) before doing any maintenance.
But at some time, Alvin had removed the safety shield from the PTO. His sweatshirt caught on the PTO and Alvin was jolted. He hit his head on the side of the spreader and as he looked down he saw what had happened.
His arm had been severed. Skin and tissue was all that held it to his shoulder.
Alvin pulled his pocket knife out and cut himself free of the arm. He then sat down.
“I thought I would just go to sleep,” he said. “I didn’t want to live without an arm.”
Alvin thought of his family, including his daughter Kelly. She was pregnant and Alvin knew his first grandchild was going to be a little girl.
He wanted to see that grandchild. He managed to pull himself up and walk about 200 yards to his farm home where he dialed 911.
Today, Alvin is enjoying his two granddaughters, Audrey and Addison, whenever they visit his rural West Point acreage.
Not only is Alvin happy to see them, so is Frankie, his dog.
When his daughter and the granddaughters aren’t around to keep him company, Frankie fills their spot.
Frankie also fills a chair at the dining room table.
For the full story, pick up the September 11 West Point News, or call 372-2461 to subscribe.