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Community rallies behind injured farmer with fundraiser

Mechanicsville farmer Jacob Kirkpatrick receives applause from a gymnasium full of supporters.

If you ask Mechanicsville residents, they'll tell you 10 surgeries is more than enough for one lifetime.

For local farmer Jacob Kirkpatrick, he's had that many surgeries since November 2016.

Injured in a farming accident late last year, Kirkpatrick lost his left leg and nine centimeters of bone on his right leg.

"For a while, the doctors didn't know if I'd keep my right leg at all," recalls Kirkpatrick.

He was cleaning a corn spill and tripped over a cornstalk, both legs being fed into the corn head of a combine.

Two surgeries still await Kirkpatrick, but he anticipates he'll keep his leg.

To help cover medical expenses, the community of Mechanicsville hosted a benefit and auction Sunday afternoon at North Cedar Elementary School.

In numbers, roughly half the town showed up (a town just north of 1,000 residents, with more than 500 people attending the benefit).

"There is going to be a lot of ongoing expenses," said Joel Brown, one of the organizers of the benefit. "When we started, I said, 'I don't care how much money we raise, but we want to let him know we care.'"

A small pedal tractor and a hand-crafted grandfather clock were among the items up for auction, which included an apple pie that sold for $325.

The auctioneer, Ryan Crock, joked, saying "the more expensive the pie, the better it tastes."

The proceeds will assist with doctor's bills and travel expenses, but Kirkpatrick remains determined to return to the place he loves most.

"This accident has just motivated me and built my passion for farming even more than before," said Kirkpatrick.

Scott Schroeder, a co-organizer of the event and president of the Mechanicsville Lion's Club, looked around the packed gymnasium with a smile.

Like Kirkpatrick, Schroeder said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

Schroeder knows the money will prove instrumental for Kirkpatrick, but said he hopes the community turnout will send a message of its own.

"Regardless of the amount [we raise], I think the important message is we're here to help and we're behind you 150 percent," said Schroeder.

Kirkpatrick shook hands all morning, saying he was shocked by how many people are behind him.

"My accident was tragic, but it's just phenomenal how many people show up for and support somebody in an accident like this."

While some may pick a different profession after such a traumatic injury, Kirkpatrick said he's dead-set on getting back to farming, and he intends to beat his predicted timeline.

"The doctors told me it'd be around October before I get back out there, but I want to prove them wrong," Kirkpatrick smiled. "I want to show people hard work pays off."

Click here to donate to Jacob's recovery fund.

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