PENDER, Neb. -- Kurt Kaser has been interviewed by well-known English journalist and broadcaster Piers Morgan.
A crew of German journalists is scheduled to come to Kaser's rural Pender farm this week.
Reporters from across the country and the world have called or visited Kaser to talk about how he cut through muscle and flesh with his pocketknife to free his left leg from a grain auger last month. Google Kaser's name and you'll find dozens of media accounts of his ordeal that have appeared worldwide.
Most people who hear Kaser's story likely wonder just how the 63-year-old farmer was able to basically amputate his own leg, then crawl to his office to call for help.
In a very matter-of-fact way, Kaser said doesn't understand what the fuss has been about since the first story about his accident aired on an Omaha TV station.
"They just came in and took a few pictures," he said of the TV crew. "Nobody imagined (what would happen next). It just exploded."
Why? Why has this story taken on a life of its own? He and wife Lori have asked each other that question. Neither has an answer.
"We've talked and talked about this, and I don't know," he said. "I can't explain it."
Maybe it's because the extreme measure Kaser took on April 19 is so hard to fathom.
A quick summary: Kaser was moving grain into a bin on his farm. Some time ago, he had cut a hole, about 1 foot square, in the screen covering the auger's end. Corn started to dump out of the truck too fast for the auger to carry. In a hurry, Kaser stepped up to close the truck's hopper. Though the hole in the screen was covered with corn, Kaser's foot went right through it and into the rotating auger.
"From there it sucked me in. It kept pulling me in," Kaser said.
He saw bone protruding from his leg, the empty joint where his foot had been attached. He kept struggling.
"I just couldn't get out, and I didn't know how long I was going to stay conscious. It got to the point where I said I've got to do something. That's when I thought of my pocketknife."
Kaser used it to cut through his damaged muscles, tissue and nerves, free his leg and pull away from the auger. He couldn't find his cell phone, so, after first shutting down the tractor running the auger and the grain truck, he dragged himself about 200 feet to his office and called his son Adam, a member of Pender's fire and rescue squad. Adam arrived quickly, followed by an ambulance.
Kaser never lost consciousness, though he doesn't remember the brief stop at the Pender hospital before he was lifted into a helicopter and flown to Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.
After surgery to trim his broken bones and close the wound six inches or so below his knee, Kaser spent a week in the hospital before spending two weeks at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln. While there, a public relations worker asked Kaser if she could pitch his story to the media.
The story aired in Omaha on May 10, the day Kaser was discharged. By the next day, the phone at home was ringing off the hook. It seemed that every reporter in the area and beyond wanted to share his story. He's heard from major TV networks, some of the biggest papers in the country. Calls have come from the aforementioned Morgan and from as far away as India.
TV crews have come to shoot video of him on the farm, asked him to show them the auger. He's accommodated every request he can.
"I can't just say no now," he said.
It's not a hassle, he said. He can't work, so he doesn't have anything else to do. It helps pass the time.
He's heard from other people who have lost legs in accidents. One woman seemed to need someone to commiserate with, and Kaser was happy to listen. Another man offered advice and encouragement.
Through it all, Kaser's kept a sense of humor, dropping one-liners into the conversation about his condition. He's at ease, knowing that with Adam and the hired help, his 1,500 acres of corn and beans, plus the 3,000 head of hogs and a trucking company, will be taken care of, though you can tell Kaser would rather be outside than in a makeshift bedroom on the ground floor of his home.
"This is the first time in how many years I haven't started the pigs myself," said Kaser, a third-generation farmer who's been working the family farm since 1975.
He says it without any hint of self-pity. He'll be able to walk again someday, he said. Other patients he saw at Madonna will spend the rest of their lives in wheelchairs.
Kaser faces at least one more surgery. Sometime in the next six to 12 months, once his leg has healed, he'll get a prosthetic and begin learning how to walk again.
"I'm just lucky I've got this much of a stub," he said, rubbing and scratching his bandaged leg.
There's a lesson in here somewhere, he said. Maybe it's to remind farmers that if they hurry and take shortcuts as he did, bad things can and will happen.
Or maybe his actions to save himself and the positive attitude he's displayed while recovering can inspire others.
Given all the stories about Kaser in the media, people won't have to search too hard to find whatever that message is.
Even if Kaser's not sure why they want to hear about him in the first place.