Frank Beard: “I’ve been blessed”

Frank sits in motorized wheelchair next to tractor that has a platform lift to raise him to the cabIf you visit Frank Beard at his Rutherford, Tennessee, farm, you’ll hear how much he appreciates his opportunity to learn the value of work while growing up on the farm. “I was blessed to learn to work,” he says. The events of November 9, 1982—and its impact on the 76-year-old—seem almost like an after-thought.

Beard was picking corn on his grandparents’ farm when the stalks jammed. “I jumped off the tractor, and without shutting off the PTO,” he recalls. “I got too close to the chain—caught my pant leg. I had a brand new pair of blue jeans on. Once those snapping rolls get hold of you, they just keep grinding. That’s where they found me, still alive, but barely.”

Stabilized at the local hospital, Beard was transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “God had other plans for me,” he says. “I had a few more goals, and God allowed me to achieve those goals. To this day, I tell people it’s all about what God has done for me.”

Several operations and months of rehab later, Beard was fitted with prosthetic legs. Determined to get back to farming, he learned about Tennessee AgrAbility. His life changed again. He recalls, “Joetta White (AgrAbility staff member) said, ‘Frank, we have a platform lift for your tractor.’ Without it, I couldn’t keep farming—or have the strength to get up into the tractor. I can bush hog, I can roll hay,” he says. ”AgrAbility has kept me continuing to enjoy what I really love. End of story.”