Harmless Farmer monument in the works


Submitted story

Andy Detwiler passed away recently after inspiring many to accept their own limitations. His many podcasts reaching well over 100,000 viewers featured Andy performing all kinds of farm work with only his feet. There have been more than 31,950,000 views of his programs to date. Falling into a grain auger when he was two years old, his arms were lost. After many surgeries he only had a partial stump on the left side.

Attempts with prosthetics were unsatisfactory.

“By the time I get all of that stuff on I could have finished the task with my feet,” he said.

“I saw him after the accident, surgery and a time of healing, grab a blanket with his foot and flip it perfectly to cover up and I knew he was going to be OK without arms,” said his mother, Pat Detwiler. One blessing was that he was so young when he needed to learn to use his feet. He developed amazing dexterity, balance, and strength in his lower body. He eagerly engaged in all kinds of farm work as he matured.

The family decided to post a few videos online and Andy became an inspiration as he shared farm activities, changing tires, hooking up power take off equipment, eating, driving tractors and farm trucks without any difficulty. The filming for the well-loved podcast series was done with the help of Andy’s daughter Kylie and featured his wife Corkey in some of the programs. According to Corkey, “Andy was a little hesitant at first to do these programs, but the feedback showed him that people really were looking and interested and that really motivated him to continue.”

David Greenlee spoke about the impact Andy has had and continues to have through the podcasts.

“I know for a fact that lives have changed for the better because of Andy’s inspiration. More than one person suffering from depression due to health issues or physical limitations saw their own limitations in a different light once they saw Andy performing so many difficult tasks without arms.”

Ronnie Piatt said, “Andy was an angel put on earth to show me I can get past my stroke.”

Paying tribute to Andy with a sculpture will amplify the possibility for others to overcome tragedy and handicaps. It also celebrates the community’s tremendous affection for him.

The idea of some kind of memorial was initiated by Paul Kari, a local farmer and friend of the Detwilers. Greenlee was asked to lead the memorial effort and the Harmless Committee formed. It is made up of interested parties including Detwiler family members and sculptor Mike Major. The bronze sculpture of Andy will be placed on the south edge of West Liberty. The larger-than-life bronze will feature Andy with one foot up on a step, poised to get on with his work.

Tax deductible donations to fund the project are being received by the Champaign County Arts Council, 119 Miami Street, Urbana, Ohio 43078. Checks should be made out to the Harmless Farmer Project c/o the Arts Council. Names of donors of $500 or more will be added to a plaque to be located at the monument site. The goal to complete fund raising of $100,000 is July 31. Secure donations can be made at champaigncountyartscouncil.org also.

Info from project organizers

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