Jul 9, 2018 @ 22:10
On June 26th, 2018 I had the great pleasure of meeting Henk and Bettina Schuurmans at the Wawa Goose. They had carefully manoeuvred their John Deere tractor out to the Goose so that they could take pictures with Maple their cow, to commemorate their trip across Canada.
We then made our way into Wawa, and to Tims where I got to meet Maple’s calf, and we enjoyed a cup of coffee talking about why they would travel across Canada on a tractor; and better yet, hauling a cow behind them?
Travelling by tractor allowed them to savour the sights, sounds and smells of Canada. Much the answer you would get from a motorcyclist. Travelling at a slower speed allowed them to enjoy the journey. They were also advocating for the Canadian Dairy Industry – explaining to all who listened, how our system allows small dairy farms to be successful, a direct contrast to the system in the US. Bettina took the opportunity to give two children from Wawa a commemorative pin.
They were passionate and excited about their trip, and their faith in their children who they had left behind in Elmira to look after the family farm. This was a dry run to see how they would do without their parents who were looking to retire.
We parted company, and I followed them as they drove through town, turning at the drill rig, and headed back out to the Goose. It looked like Henk hopped off the tractor to take more photos at the Goose, and then they left – going to Normandy Lodge for the night. Following their journey, #CdnMilkTour; I’ve seen Maple in all sorts of places, Thunder Bay, Manitoba and Winnipeg, Sasketchewan.
This morning, just outside of Saskatoon, tragedy struck. The John Deere was struck by a transport on Highway 16, and Bettina was killed. Henk suffered critical injuries but was stabilized, and remains in hospital. Their family has been notified, and the Canadian dairy farm family is in shock.
A GoFundMe has been launched to raise funds. For those who have experienced a sudden death in the family and another seriously injured – the expenses will add up quickly.
If you wish to donate and help the family, click this link.