Farmersburg resident rushed to aid farmer yelling when one of his farm hands was struck with 7,200 volts of electricity through his body.
Gilbert Brainard, owner of Brainard’s contractors, didn’t give it a second thought when he tried to help an injured man whilst working on a nearby building site in Minn., recently.
Brainard’s bravery did not go unnoticed and he is to be honored at the 2007 award ceremony, in the category of Hero for the Work Place Safety. The award ceremony, entitled Heroes Among Us, will take place on March 29, 7:30 a.m., in Cedar Falls. The awards are sponsored by the Covenant Foundation.
Brainard humbly told the story of the incident, explaining that the farmer and his hired man had been moving a feed bin up to the building site with a tractor loader and a boom. The farmer drove it under the high wires causing it to come into contact with 7,200 volts.
“The hired man was hanging off the bin, so he was electrocuted, the farmer got out of the tractor and started yelling for help – I heard him calling and I ran down. He was on his cell phone and the guy was lying on the ground in the mud,” said Brainard. “I got his head up and he was gasping and moaning, and then he turned purple and died.” he added.
Brainard had trained in CPR 20 years ago, but never used it. He was not certified, but he had done the training.
“I rolled him on his side and cleared his airway and I was going to give him CPR but I didn’t need to because just clearing his airway and turning him over brought him back, and his color came back,” Brainard said.
Brainard had the man sitting up and talking by the time that the EMT arrived. The man did not know what had happened to him. Both the farmer and Brainard also did not realize that the man had been electrocuted. The farmer was of course protected from the shock because the inside of the tractor was earthed. When Brainard later realized what had actually happened he thought himself dumb for taking such a risk.
“I thought that was kind of dumb, but you don’t think when you see someone who needs help, I’d do the same thing for an animal,” he explained. “I feel that God had more of a part in saving this man that I did because if it had still been making contact I would also have been electrocuted,” he pointed out.
The part of the tractor that hit the wire, for a fraction of a second, was stationary between the live and the earth wires while Brainard was unwittingly at the scene.
When the EMT arrived they checked the man’s vitals, to see if he was aware. They had put him on a stretcher and were carrying him to the ambulance before taking him to a hospital, in Rochester, when the man kept saying that his feet were tingling, Brainard said.
“They pulled off his boots and you could see that the sole of his socks was burnt, but I later found out that his right little toe was blown off and he had a whole in his foot about the size of a 50 cents piece. His left foot little toe was damaged and he later lost it as a result. They are now doing skin graphs,” he said.
The man was apparently released from hospital the next day. Not surprisingly the first person he wanted to see and thank was Brainard. The man’s wife drove him to job site where Brainard was working with his construction company.
Brainard has had his construction business for 15 years and builds hog confinements, log cabins and decks, among many other things.
Brainard also owns Brainard’s Country Change, in National, with his son Amos. They have had that business for about two years. The building used to be the old School House.
The restaurant offers nightly specials and is closed on a Monday. There is huge banquet room downstairs which is available free of charge to use for weddings and other functions. There are two bars in the restaurant and meals cost an average of $14. They carry a full range of liquor and will be having a Valentine evening special. It is only open in the evenings and is therefore a supper club.
Brainard is happiest when he is behind the bar, but he clearly wears many hats and has a keen sense of humor, because he pointed out that it is a family owned business and he takes care of the less attractive tasks like the restrooms. His son, Amos, is the chef and also does various other jobs, such as mowing the lawn.
The décor alone is something worth stopping in to take a gander at. The upper level is decorated with hunting trophies and antique farm equipment and the lower level is cleverly kitted out with collaged pillars, and 70s orange, lime green and pink walls that are covered in collectible vinyl records spanning the eras.