Dennis Baucke, 53, lives in Yuma, Colorado. He farms. He also has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and over the past 20 years this disease has weakened his legs to the point where he no longer could work independently on his farm. “My sons had to babysit me,” he said, as they helped him in and out of his truck and tractor.
Last summer, Baucke got a lift, literally, with the help of the Colorado AgrAbility Project, a partnership with Easter Seals Colorado and Colorado State University Extension. AgrAbility assessed Baucke’s situation and abilities and recommended a Flatbed Lift by Life Essentials of Brookston, Indiana. With the added help of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Colorado Department of Human Services which purchased the lift, Baucke was in business. Vince Luke, AgrAbility Case Manager, likens the lift to a cherry picker. “You can control not just the up and down, but also the back and forth and the side-to-side movements. This makes it a very versatile lift.”
Baucke can use the lift to get in and out of vehicles; he uses it to maintain his vehicles, too. The lift has a special hook that attaches to his electric wheelchair so the chair can go with him wherever he drives.
He learned about AgrAbility at a workshop sponsored by the organization in Yuma last winter to educate ranchers and farmers about the program’s focus to help agricultural workers with disabilities stay in their jobs.
AgrAbility is providing free workshops again this year in eleven Colorado communities throughout the winter on the topic of “Living with Visual Impairments and Other Physical Challenges on the Ranch/Farm.” The workshops listed below are from 9 a.m. to noon with a lunch provided for those who pre-register at least a week in advance. The workshops are open to ranchers/farmers, families and professionals. Four of the workshops have already taken place in Durango, Cortez, Pagosa Springs, and Meeker. To pre-register a week prior to the workshop of your choice, contact Dr. Bob Fetsch or call 970-491-5648.
One of the scheduled workshops is in Aurora. See details below.
Visit AgrAbility for more information about the program or call (303) 937-7713 x224.
Walden: Thursday January 21, 2010, North Park Medical Center at 350 McKinley Street with Debbie Alpe (970) 723-4298.
Monte Vista: Tuesday January 26, 2010 San Luis Valley Information Center at 947 1st Ave. with Eleanor West (719) 852-7381.
Trinidad: Wednesday January 27, 2010 Trinidad Junior College Sullivan Student Center at 600 Prospect Ave. with Dean Oatman (719) 846-6881.
Pueblo: Thursday January 28, 2010 Pueblo Zoo at 3455 Nuckolis Avenue with Marvin Reynolds (719) 583-6566.
Aurora: Wednesday February 10, Arapahoe County Fairgrounds at 25690 East Quincy Avenue with Dale Edwards (303) 738-7907.
Yuma: Thursday February 11, First Presbyterian Church at 110 W. 4th Ave. with Dennis Kaan (970) 345-2287.
Sterling: Friday February 12, Logan County Extension Office at 508 South 10th Ave., Suite 1 with Bruce Bosley (970) 522-3200, ext. 285.
Kathryn also writes as Denver Mobility Products Examiner and Denver Senior Care Examiner. Subscribe or comment using the buttons at the top of the article. Contact Kathryn with inquiries or suggested topics.