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Friday, September 24th, 2010

Boy dies in farm accident

By Shelley Grieshop
ST. HENRY - A 10-year-old St. Henry boy died Thursday evening after becoming stuck inside a grain wagon full of corn on the family farm.
Nicholas "Nick" Franck was rushed to Mercer County Community Hospital, Coldwater, about 6 p.m. and pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.
Franck, a fourth-grade student at St. Henry Elementary School, is the son of Doug and Sarah Franck, 5750 Carthagena Road. Besides his parents, he also is survived by eight brothers and sisters.
The report from the Mercer County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to the farm after receiving a 911 call at 5:54 p.m. Upon arrival, they discovered the child had climbed into the wagon as it was unloading corn and was pulled down with the grain.
Franck reportedly was not breathing when paramedics arrived and was given CPR at the scene and en route to the hospital.
Franck's father and a brother were nearby when the accident occurred, according to Chief Deputy Sheriff Gery Thobe.
Sarah Franck's mother, Jo Ann Kunkler, spoke to the newspaper this morning on behalf of her daughter. The boy's mother described her son as fun-loving, having a great sense of humor and a personality that made him well-liked by everyone he met. He spent most of his free time working alongside his father on the farm. He loved farming and it was all he talked about, she said.
The mood was solemn at school today as news of the boy's death circulated to students and staff. Counselors and clergy were on hand to help those who were grieving, officials said.
"This is just as tragic as you can get ... gut-wrenching news and an awful, awful reality for the parents, brothers, sisters and family," school superintendent Rod Moorman said this morning. "Our prayers and thoughts are with the Francks today."  
The child's class is small and subsequently close-knit, officials said. He was one of only 48 boys and 35 girls in the fourth grade.
Elementary principal Sandy Stammen gathered Franck's classmates together this morning to announce the tragedy and let the children share their memories of the young boy.
"He always wore a big smile on his face," Stammen recalled. "He loved sports and he certainly loved farming. He was the class authority on farming."
Funeral arrangements were pending this morning at Hogenkamp Funeral Home.
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