RICHLAND CITY, Ind. (WEHT) – Phillip Schmidt has owned his farmland in Spencer County since the mid-1970s. He helped teach agriculture classes for North Posey schools for a decade, served as an agent for Spencer County’s Purdue Extension Office for another 20 years, and has been in farming his entire life. It’s what he knows. Schmidt also knows the dangers that are associated with the farm life, with his grain bin rescue still fresh on his mind not quite 24 hours later.
“I’m fine. I’m well blessed and very fortunate I didn’t get any bruises or any skins,” says Schmidt.
After straw and bird nests clogged his grain bin, Schmidt took a plastic pipe inside in an attempt to clear the clog. Despite having a safety rope tied to his waist, Schmidt was overtaken by the grain, unable to pull himself free.
“It’s kind of like trying to swim uphill in a really swift water or stream, you know,” explains Schmidt. “Everything keeps sliding out from under you.”
Dwayne Fueger, a neighbor, was one of the first on the scene to help in any way he could. Fueger was also back at Schmidt’s farm to assist with cleanup the next day.
“We’re just trying to clean the mess up,” says Fueger. “We know there’s rain on the way, so we just want to help him get the grain up off the ground and hauled off.”
Luce Township Assistant Fire Chief Scott Middleton says the life-saving efforts can be accredited to Schmidt’s experience, quick response, and the use of a rescue tube provided by the Chrisney Fire Department.
“he knew he was stuck,” says Middleton. “He called for help, he got it. He had the rope. We were close by, had a couple of guys that were on the scene.”
Schmidt says he is grateful for the help of neighbors, family members, and first responders, and is blessed to be alive. Schmidt became emotional when asked of the importance of standing on his farm on what happened to be his 55th wedding anniversary.
“Well, I appreciate it a lot more than I probably would have before. Yeah, it’s really great.”