Local mom advocates for grain bin safety after losing son

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ROCKVILLE Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Friday, November 22, 2019 is a day Anita Howard will never forget.

“About 12 O’clock , I was at work and I received a call from his employer saying they were not able to find Colten, and that there was a chance he was in the grain bin.”

She said after the call ended the search for her son began. What started as a worry, turned into a panic, as community members continued to search for Colten for over 8 hours. The mission unfortunately, ended in the recovery of Colten’s body.

Since then, Howard said, she’s been on a mission to spread awareness on grain bin safety.

“No mother should ever have to go through that.”

In February of 2020 the U.S Secretary of Agriculture declared the third week of the month as National Grain Bin Safety Week.

Howard reacted positively to the announcement, but adds she wished something like this had been created sooner.

“Colten may still be here today, I believe you know, if some of those changes were already in place.”

Honey Creek Firefighter Josh Sittler said it’s not the most common accident, but it does happen.

“Say someone is by themselves and you know a couple hours later and they’ve become engulfed, the survival rate is going to go considerably down,” Sittler said. “We always tell everybody to work together whether it’s in the grain bin, or even just anything else that you’re doing outside.”

The survival rate of someone engulfed depends heavily on their time in the bin. Sittler mentioned, someone engulfed my not be able to breathe, so in those cases, every second counts after they go under.

“He was engulfed in corn, and it’s something that’s preventable, and so many farmers take for granted that they can go inside a bin of either beans or corn and they’re going to come out.”

She said you never think you’re going to become a statistic, but it only takes one accident to make that a reality for a family.

In the months since Colten’s passing, Howard has reached out to other mothers and families who have gone through the same heartbreak.

She expressed that in her road to recovery, speaking out is what makes her feel like she is making a difference.

“We are all momma’s on a mission, to bring awareness and to save lives.”

Anita Howard recounts the day she lost her son to a grain bin accident

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