Living life to the fullest: Reflecting on the Canadian Milk Tour tragedy


The news on Monday about the Schuurmans and the tragic collision on the Canadian Milk Tour near Saskatoon was devastating.

This is clearly a situation that comes with shock, surprise, and sadness. In reflection of the events, it really hits home for me that life can be so fragile.

My takeaway from this event is another reminder to live life to its fullest. Things change quickly. In an instant, our lives can be shifted and altered to a context that didn’t seem possible or familiar.

I talked to Henk on the phone last Friday to set up an interview for RealAg Radio about the tour. He was healthy, happy, and excited to be driving his tractor across Canada together with his wife Bettina, promoting not only his love of the dairy industry but also to raise awareness for dairy products in general. He told me, “Shaun, I am just on the tractor right now. Can I call you back?”

Monday morning, the situation changed dramatically, after a semi, traveling west bound on Highway 16 in Saskatchewan rear-ended Henk and Bettina’s tractor, killing her instantly, and sending Henk to hospital in critical condition.

Henk is now without his partner, and he now looks ahead to recovering physically and mentally from this terrible crash. In three short days, in a blink of an eye, Henk and the Schuurmans’ lives changed. We cannot reset the clock back to Friday or to seconds before the crash.

It’s stark reminder for all of us to not let life pass us by. I suggest that we all live life to the fullest every single day of the week, every hour of the day, and every second of every minute. No matter where you farm in Canada, no matter if you grow crops or raise livestock, always remember your life may not be tomorrow what it is today.

On Tuesday’s RealAg Radio show, I spoke with Ontario AgCast host Wendell Schumm about the tragedy and about the GoFundMe account that has been started for the family by SaskMilk and Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

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