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Logan StoryCorps: A farm girl's everyday heroism

 Debbie Andrew wearing USA baseball cap and denim hoodie stands slightly shorter than her sister-in-law Jaylene Anderson who has chin length gray hair with bangs and wears a gray tee-shirt
Debbie Andrew and Jaylene Anderson together at their StoryCorps conversation.

KIRSTEN SWANSON: It's time again for Utah StoryCorps, everyday people sharing their stories at the StoryCorps recording booth in Logan.

MARY HEERS: Two Cache Valley farm girls, Debbie Andrew and her sister-in-law Jaylene Anderson, give us two stories of everyday heroism on the farm.

DEBBIE ANDREW: My name is Debbie Andrew and the name of my partner here is Jaylene Anderson. She is my sister-in-law.

JAYLENE ANDERSON: Hi, I'm Jaylene Anderson.

DEBBIE ANDREW: And I know you and Jim got married when I was 10.

JAYLENE ANDERSON: I was in 4-H, and I made my wedding dress for my sewing project. And when I was a senior, I never wore shoes. And I was asked to guard the gate, while Jim was hauling the manure so the cows didn't get from one spot to the other spot.

DEBBIE ANDREW: Right. I did a lot of gate guarding.

JAYLENE ANDERSON: Yes. And he was impressed that the ooey gooey stuff would come up between my toes, and I wasn't offended by it.

DEBBIE ANDREW: I think Jim wanted a partner that was someone that could go out and get their hands dirty on the farm with him out there, you know.

JAYLENE ANDERSON: Yeah, and I've always enjoyed the animals. We kept bulls. We had a ring in their nose. And then we would stake the bulls out to eat the grass along the ditch bank because you can't farm the ditch bank. It fed them and it kept the weeds down so you could irrigate. And this bull called Whirlwind -- he fit his name, but the ring in the nose kept his attitude in the right —


JAYLENE ANDERSON: But the night before I went to change him from one spot to another spot. And the strings we used were twine strings, several of them, and he had his twine string wrapped around a piece of barbed wire. So I sat down with my face not more than a foot away from his face, unwrapping this twine string around the barbed wire and finally got it done. And then moved him to another spot.

I told Jim, after that, I said, "You know that twine string is really frail. We probably need to put another one on there." Well, the next night Art (your dad) went out to change him. And he wasn't there. And he had gotten loose, the twine had broke. And he was across the ditch onto the other side. And Art was going to go get him.

DEBBIE ANDREW: With a typical Dad attitude.

JAYLENE ANDERSON: Yes. So I wasn't going to confront him. So I went and got the horse. It took me a few minutes to get her bridled up. And so, in the meantime, Art had already gone down and he was going to hook his finger into the ring. And when Art went to hook him, Whirlwind took and threw him up in the air, and bulls — their heads are so strong, and Whirlwind was ramming Art into the dirt. I came up on the horse screaming at him with the lariat. And then he finally decided that we was too much for him to handle. So he took off down through the field.

DEBBIE ANDREW: Yeah. So again, there you are: right place, right time. Like the time that you saved Wayne as well. He was about 22 months old.

JAYLENE ANDERSON: Yeah He was walking good. We's out there getting ready for the fair. Kids was practicing showing their animals and Wayne's missing. And your heart sinks and everybody scattered. "Go for the ditch! Go this way, go that way!" Your brother Mike saw something in the manure pit that looked like a stick. And he pulled it out. And Wayne's body came with it. So yeah, just his hand was sticking out.

So I told the kids to go, go get help. And I just put his head back, cleaned out his mouth as best I could. And then just started mouth to mouth. But he was gone. And it's amazing. When I started breathing, you could see life come back into that little body. He went down to the Primaries and they gave him 10 days before they was even got to know anything and by then he was jumping on the bed pulling his IVs off.

DEBBIE ANDREW: And I don't know if I ever said thank you. I mean, I do appreciate that he is alive and he survived. You were there at those moments when somebody needed you — always.

JAYLENE ANDERSON: Oh, just ... I don't know.

DEBBIE ANDREW: You do what you do, Jaylene

JAYLENE ANDERSON: Yeah, I do what I do.

MARY HEERS: And this is Utah StoryCorps.

KIRSTEN SWANSON: Thanks for coming along.

MARY HEERS: See you next Friday. Same time,


Support for Logan StoryCorps comes from Cache County and from USU Community Credit Union, a division of Goldenwest.

Mary got hooked on oral histories while visiting Ellis Island and hearing the recorded voices of immigrants that had passed through. StoryCorps drew her to UPR. After she retired from teaching at Preston High, she walked into the station and said she wanted to help. Kerry put her to work taking the best 3 minutes out of the 30 minute interviews recorded in Vernal. Passion kicked in. Mary went on to collect more and more stories and return them to the community on UPR's radio waves. Major credits to date: Utah Works, One Small Step, and the award winning documentary Ride the Rails.
Kirsten grew up listening to Utah Public Radio in Smithfield, Utah and now resides in Logan. She has three children and is currently producing Utah StoryCorps and working as the Saturday morning host on UPR. Kirsten graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree History in 2000 and dual minors in Horticulture and German. She enjoys doing voice work, reading, writing, drawing, teaching children, and dancing. Major credits include StoryCorps, Utah Works, One Small Step, and the APTRA award-winning documentary Ride the Rails.
Check out our past StoryCorps episodes.