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Paralyzed farmer finds new passion: restoring antique toy tractors

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

After he was paralyzed in an accident, Lorrin Kennedy has found a new passion in restoring replica toy tractors, like this John Deere model.
After he was paralyzed in an accident, Lorrin Kennedy has found a new passion in restoring replica toy tractors, like this John Deere model.

At the P. Rodney Cover Memorial Christmas Toy Show in St. Thomas, Pennsylvania this past weekend, 17 vendors set up their displays to show their farm toy collectibles, like John Deere toy tractors, grain harvesters, hay wagons and bailers. However, one toy vendor, Lorrin Kennedy, had a special story to tell.

Having grown up on a farm, Kennedy says that his life revolved around agriculture until 1988, when a farming accident left him in wheelchair, without the use of his legs and limited use of his hands. Nonetheless, instead of giving up, Kennedy picked up a new habit: he took some old farm toys, restored them to beautiful condition and discovered his new passion in the process.

Inspired, Kennedy then started a small business to fix up other people's neglected farm toys. Never resting on his laurels, Kennedy recently began building farm toys from scratch, imbuing them with an authentic farm life feel. Some of the models take him nearly six months to finish and Kennedy affirms that "it's hard work, but I enjoy it."

His wife, Sherry, asserts that they have an extensive collection of toy tractors "pretty much everywhere in our house." Kennedy's perseverance in the face of adversity was born from his farm life upbringing and he has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. 

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