Due to cold and wet weather on May 21, the annual Tesmer Safety Day was postponed to May 22. As always, the event was held on the Steam Engine Grounds in Mabel, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. But the soggy ground and windy conditions did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of those who attended. Michael Cruse, local Extension office educator, estimated that around 430 fourth grade students from throughout Fillmore and Houston counties were expected. He added, “The only group that we don’t have this year is Kingsland.” (Due to that school ending the year early for a facility upgrade project.) Cruse pointed out that the event is running mostly “the same as ever” but with a few tweaks, including different colored t-shirts for each school, to help teachers identify their students more easily. Cruse also mentioned that the event has been going on for so many years that it’s now a matter of decades rather than years.
High school student Dylan Loppnow shared his experience in helping with the event, saying, “I’m just helping out the fire department, explaining fire safety. I’ve done this the past four years.” When asked what he thinks is a highlight, Loppnow said, “They really like the fire extinguisher (demonstration). Hopefully it’s a good time for all the kids, and they learn a lot.” He also explained that usually, students are able to help spray a fire hose up into the air, and this is a particularly popular part of the demonstration, but was canceled this year due to the high winds and cool temperatures.
Meredith Johnson, a teacher at Rushford-Peterson School, stated, “We like the different stations. As you can see, the kids like to get on things, so if it’s interactive, they like that.” She also said stations with animals are always a hit with the kids.
Houston County Sheriff Mark Inglett and Chief Deputy Brian Swedberg were on hand to teach the kids about water safety and watercraft safety. Part of their lesson involved life jacket usage, and staying away from the propeller blades of any watercraft. They took a moment to explain their feelings about the event. Sheriff Inglett stated, “We got invited by Mr. Cruse two or three years ago, and it’s a good event. We spend some time with the kids… We bring our patrol boat and we talk about water safety and boat safety. It’s a good time.” Chief Deputy Swedberg added, “It’s nice to have a good interaction with the kids,” so that they learn to view law enforcement officers in a positive light.
This year’s event had a wide array of safety stations, on topics including ATV safety, tractor rollovers, lawn mower safety, grain bin safety, hazardous weed identification, 911, water safety, fire safety, and general farm safety.
Cruse added that he is always impressed that even when the local farming economy is facing tough times, the community still donates time and items so generously to make the Safety Day a success. This includes the lunch, which this year was donated and served by the Fillmore County Pork Producers. He also thanked all of the schools for participating year after year.