Tim and Colby Lehman: Growth disorder didn’t quench their success
Brothers Tim and Colby Lehman are dairymen on their family farm in Chamberburg, Pennsylvania. Their work is physically demanding, requiring long hours in the milking parlor multiple times a day in addition to barn cleaning and a variety of outdoor tasks. Added to their challenges are their smaller sizes: 48” and 46” respectively, due to Dyggve-Melchoir-Clausen (DMC) syndrome, a rare genetic bone disorder.
Since their parlor is pit-type (where workers stand several feet below the cows), the Lehmans had to repeatedly climb on and off stools to attach and detach milking units. This caused concern about safety and long-term joint complications related to DMC.
To assist, AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians worked with state Vocational Rehabilitation to engage Life Essentials, an assistive technology company, which custom-made powered trolleys mounted to rails that were installed on both sides of the parlor. Now the Lehmans can glide the length of the parlor at cow-level height without repeatedly mounting and dismounting stools. Also acquired were automatic take-offs for the milking units and power-operated steps to enter and exit the milking parlor.
“We are so grateful to AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians’ involvement in helping us identify equipment and modifications that make a huge difference for the boys,” said their mother Tina Lehman. Their father Lester added, “We wanted to provide a career opportunity for them so that as they mature, they will have a place to use their time and talents. We feel truly blessed to have this farm, and blessed to watch our sons become men.”