Monroe County Fair showcases excitement, hope for youth burned in farm accident

TOMAH, Wis. (WKBT) — Amid all the excitement, the Monroe County fair is extra-special for the Leis family, whose 10-year-old son Gage is showing animals after being in an accident in September.

The farm accident burned 30% of Gage’s body, and he spent time at the UW Burn and Wound Center in Madison.

After Gage’s accident, the community rallied around him with T-shirts, benefits and donations. In one instance, Regan and George Klinkner’s family donated a calf to Gage for auction.

“It touches your heart. There’s no way around that, it really does,” said Gage’s mom, Beth. “It just goes to show how important community involvement is.”

Gage was excited to be back to the fair after the year he has had.

“I’m excited to show and earn some ribbons,” Gage said, “and to hang out with my friends.”

As Gage gets ready to show his animals, other 4-H club members are also showcasing their hard work.

Go-getters like Bonita Hanley make sure to cover all their bases.

“Vegetables, photography, arts and crafts, and then through 4-H I actually got the great opportunity to do clothing,” Hanley said. “Probably one of my most important is my sheep.”

4-H is something kids do for fun and growth, an opportunity they missed out on last year.

“I’m really glad there is a fair,” 4-H Club member Zaida Carpenter said. “The summer was kind of empty without the fair.”

Among her many other responsibilities, Carpenter helps manage the Junior Leaders Ice Cream Stand at the fair.

4-H is a nationally recognized youth organization, focused on everything from leadership to arts and crafts.

The fair runs until Sunday at Recreation Park in Tomah.