One of the clinchers of being in business for 70 skips around the sun, is the people we meet. But few leave a mark on your heart like local farmer and all-round legend, Kim Foster.
Proud Wudinna local, Kim was born on his family’s 2,000-acre property and ran sheep and broadacre cropping for 18 years. In November 1988, a farming accident left Kim a paraplegic at the age of 36. But it’s not the event that’s defined him — it’s the way he’s tackled life since that makes him an inspiration to the Ramsey Bros family and beyond.
“During the six months I spent in rehab, I knew that I had to look forward. We didn’t have OH & S or social workers, so with my wife Janet and kids, Trisha, Anthony and Chris in my corner, I decided to focus on what I could control.
“I wasn’t giving up farming, so I got electric winches in the tractors and a harness to lift me in and out — Ramsey Bros played a big part. Brent Ramsey sold me machinery and helped me adapt to hand controls, even with my cars.
“But, apart from practical adjustments for work, it was throwing myself into restoring old equipment that became my pride and joy — motors, tractors… you name it. I even did up my grandfather’s 1946 model hot rod.
“One of the most memorable was when Brent called to say he had a Victa ride-on mower that needed a rebuild. Of course, I took it on and did it up to a tee… but then a bit of cheek came over me.
“Knowing Brent as a proud Case IH dealer over the years, I got some paint and jazzed up the mower in green, with yellow rims… some might say, with more of a ‘John Deere vibe’ as a bit of a gag. I was pretty proud of the result, but was a bit too nervous to take it back to Wudinna,” Kim laughs.
“Anyway, I delivered it to Brent and a few months later, opened my mail to find a court summons. I was in trouble for doing up an old mower and trying to “pass it off as new”. I recognised the letter was part of a fundraiser for Variety Bush Bash, so played along, writing a $60 cheque in Brenton’s name and forging his signature to present to the Judge at the mock-hearing.
“In front of the Judge, I was told that although forged, the money was legit, Brenton was stunned that I’d replicated his signature so perfectly and I was thrown in the cell for 15 minutes as part of the theatrics of the fundraiser,” Kim fondly recalls. With this great sense of humour and a fiercely active commitment to the Wudinna community, it’s no surprise that Kim and Janet are heralded as pillars of the town — so much so, that they even received a Commendation in the Australia Day awards.
Today, we’re tipping our hats to Kim — for being an inspiration in the industry, a pleasure to call a friend, and for always lifting the spirits of anyone lucky enough to cross his path.