By Dan Rankin
In just over one day of online fundraising through the “Hawkins Family – Colton’s Recovery” GoFundMe.com page, contributions from 71 people had already surpassed the page’s stated goal of $5,000. The money given through the page, set up by family friend and Perth South councillor Melinda Zurbrigg, will support the family of 8-year-old Colton Hawkins who was involved in a farming accident on Sept. 18 that resulted in the loss of his right leg below the knee.
As of Thursday afternoon, the amount raised was over $8,000. The page had also been shared on Facebook and Twitter a combined 265 times.
“For anyone who knows this family, they are extremely active and involved in the area of St. Marys and surroundings, with four children and hockey and cows and farming,” wrote Zurbrigg on the page, located at GoFundMe.com/mr4x7ux4. “And anyone who knows Colton, knows just how strong-willed, feisty and determined he is, and can and will persevere through this.”
On the day of the accident, Perth County OPP officers were dispatched to a farm along Line 12 north of St.Marys where a child had been injured as a result of a farm mishap.
Their investigation revealed that a 66-year-old man was operating a tractor with an attached corn harvester and towing a wagon, harvesting corn for silage. The man noticed that the harvester head had stopped operating, and turned to look out the back when he observed a young boy, Hawkins, caught in the front head of the harvester. The operator shut down the tractor and freed Hawkins from the equipment. Colton was then transported by land ambulance to a London Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
Zurbrigg, who set up the page unbeknownst to the family, wrote that “Moneys raised can go to support the expenses, of gas and parking at the hospital, therapy and any other related matters following Colton’s accident.”
On Sept. 22, a day after the page went live, Zurbrigg posted an update from the family after they had learned about the fundraising page. “Wow… I am completely floored by everyone’s support,” the family wrote in the message. “We are definitely feeling the love from the community and it has enabled us to focus on getting Colton back home. But this is unbelievable. Thank you so much for doing this, it means so much to us.”
Zurbrigg also included a quote from Colton’s mother in her page description: “”Colton is a little trouper, tough as nails, fighter to the finish. We have a long road ahead of us, but I have faith he can do it”
“Fantastic results! Absolutely amazing the caring and support of our community!” Zurbrigg added.
South Perth Centennial School also held a fundraiser for the Hawkins family Thursday. Students could bring hats to school and, with a donation, wear them throughout the day. The school raised $600.
The OPP remind those living on or attending farms to always be vigilant around agricultural equipment, particularly now as Perth County enters the harvest season.