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Roberta Riley's picture

In the buzz about Oscars, Emmys and ESPYs, let's not forget the award categories for individuals who wind up in the ER. A few years back, I won "The Bonehead" award for not just one, but two trips to the ER after cutting my finger, and then my thumb, in a series of misplaced efforts to slice bagels with a newly sharpened knife.  

But "The Owie" award is reserved for those humble, hard-working, unsung heroes injured in the noble cause of feeding the rest of us.  In case us city slickers forget just how difficult and dangerous the work of farming truly is, "The Owie" awards, as I've named them, are here to remind us. 

For this year's "Owie Award," I nominate Pacific Northwest organic farmer Carrie Little. In the face of devastating floods and windstorms, Carrie toils long hours out on her Little Eorthe Farm, which is nestled in a fertile valley created by nearby Mt. Rainier. In the wintertime, she harvests hearty kale. During warmer months, she cultivates a variety of berries, carrots, potatoes, herbs, spices, cucumbers and watermelons. Her chickens and ducks produce fresh eggs, one of her best cash crops.  Thank goodness she hadn't yet moved her ducklings into her farthest high tunnel (a long, curved shelter used in farming), because an unseasonably harsh winter storm recently destroyed the entire structure.  According to Carrie, it just goes to show that “ a farmer's life is filled with surprises.”

The most painful surprise of all hit Carrie in late January. She was bringing hay out to her alpacas, when an escaped ram (a large male sheep) spotted her and went on a rampage, charging her. Her only defense was a baseball bat, but even that wasn't enough. In the melee, that ram broke her leg.

For Carrie, it was the moment of truth: would her brand new Obamacare health coverage work?

The answer is yes, her ER bills, cast and orthopedic doctor visits were fully paid, without any hassles or insurance company fine print.

If she were to wins this year's "Owie" award, Carrie’s acceptance speech might be:

“Like me, many of you may qualify for free or low cost health coverage. So if you need health insurance, sign-up now before the March 31 deadline. Otherwise you might win the next 'Bonehead' award. “

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