By Stan Maddux
BLUFFTON, Ind. – There appears to be no giving up in an Indiana farmer already disabled before suddenly losing full use of his legs.
“The day I quit is the day I die,” said Steve Redelman, of Bluffton.
Since birth, Redelman, 64, has battled cerebral palsy-like symptoms caused from being born with a pin sized hole in his brain.
Redelman never had full use of one of his arms but compensated with his other arm to make a living.
He has farmed, hauled horses for Amish farmers, worked in foundries and performed other jobs. The life-long Hoosier grew up on a 500 acre farm outside Greensburg where his family raised corn, soybeans and hogs.
“I used to sling hay from the floor by one hand,” Redelman said.
Now, Redelman has turned to raising chickens, longhorn steer and goats on his 2.5 acre farm after recent surgeries failed to repair his damaged knees.
Redelman said new tendons that replaced the ones in his left knee torn while walking out of a gas station failed to work properly. Later, his arthritic right knee was replaced but an infection developed.
Muscle lost to the infection was replaced with muscle from elsewhere on his leg but the ability of his artificial knee to function to its full potential was limited by the procedure.
Redelman, with help from his wife, Peggy, feeds the animals from an electric scooter he uses to navigate the property. He also does other chores like retrieving hay from the barn.
Redelman said he also plans to resume his hauling business once he finds a truck equipped with a lift for raising him in and out of the cab.
Physically, Redelman said he’s still able to drive. “I can move my legs back and forth. They just can’t hold me up,” he said.
The unexpected hardship on the couple was made even more challenging when Peggy was forced to retire after breaking several ribs and a puncturing lung in a fall while riding one of her horses.
Peggy Redelman said she’s pretty much recovered but has given up riding, which she has done since growing up with a horse near Columbus, Ohio.
“It’s been a rough summer but it’s not been as bad as I thought it would be,” she said.
To generate some income, nearly a year ago they acquired 10 goats, two longhorn steers and 18 chickens for breeding and selling.
Steve Redelman said eggs from the chickens will be offered at $2 a dozen once the hens start laying. The roosters will be sold for $30 apiece.
The couple also hopes to acquire land to increase the size of their budding livestock operation.
Peggy Redelman said the more than $600 a month her husband collects from Social Security because of his disability is not enough, but he’s also determined to keep working because of his upbringing. “He was raised to work. That’s what a man does he says,” she said.
The couple shouldn’t be counted out, considering Steve Redelman was not expected to live past his teenage years due to his birth defect.
Nevertheless, Peggy Redelman said her still physically strong husband has gone on to live a full life that includes great grandchildren. “We’re working through the little obstacles that we have. He amazes me what he can do with one hand,” she said.