COVID-19 Sidelined a Feed Truck Driver. Then His Neighbor, a Fellow Chicken Grower, Pitched In.

DPI partnered with Jenell Eck of Maryland Grain Producers to tell this story of how #chickensteppedup.

Scott Kirk delivers organic poultry feed across Delmarva to farmers raising chickens for Coleman Natural Foods every day. The Kirk family also raises roaster broiler chickens in two houses that Scott's wife, Sarah, takes care of, but Scott hauls feed to have additional income. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott had been busier than normal ensuring broilers -- chickens raised for meat, as opposed to the layer chickens raised for their eggs -- had an uninterrupted supply of feed.

In the middle of April, Scott began feeling run down; he assumed he was suffering from seasonal allergies. He continued to work hauling feed to Delmarva's chickens, and with such an isolated job, alone in his truck's cab, Scott felt comfortable continuing to work every day.

On April 12, Scott came down with what he thought were sinus infection symptoms, and he began to run a high fever. Days later, Sarah dropped him off at the hospital doors to be tested for COVID-19. She waited anxiously in the parking lot as visitors were not permitted. The news they hoped not to hear came back: Scott had tested positive for COVID-19.

Sarah and the family's four children began to quarantine themselves. Scott spent five days in the hospital on oxygen; he was also diagnosed with pneumonia. Upon leaving the hospital, Scott self-quarantined for nearly two weeks He enjoyed his family, outdoor sunshine, and relaxation to heal while keeping others safe.

And what about the feed truck route? A neighbor and family friend, Harlan Good, offered to haul feed for him. Harlan, also a poultry grower, expressed interest earlier this year about hauling feed, and he was able to obtain the needed license to do so. The Kirk family feels beyond blessed for Harlan stepping up and helping during Scott's recovery.

The Kirk kids would check on their dad through video calls while he was at the hospital to keep everyone's spirits up and helped their mom out on the farm. When Scott was quarantined at home after being discharged, the family took advantage of his presence for extra quality time. Everyone practiced social distancing, wore masks, and washed their hands regularly. Scott would sit away from his family inside and outside and enjoy quality time with his loved ones. Keeping the four children upbeat during this time was important, especially while continuing school from home.

Since being diagnosed, Scott has felt like a celebrity for having survived a coronavirus infection. Scott and his family thanked everyone who reached out to check and pray for them. They were offered more help than they could have ever imagined and feel appreciated and loved by many. After 19 years of marriage and a COVID-19 scare behind them, this family - one of thousands in Delmarva's chicken community - is ready for all life continues to have in store.

Scott Kirk, a truck driver who supplies Delmarva chicken growers with feed for their birds, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-April. He's pictured here weeks before he fell ill.

Kirk spent five days in the hospital, quarantined from his family, battling COVID-19 and pneumonia.

Once discharged, Kirk recouperated at home; a fellow chicken grower, Harlan Good, stepped up to take care of his feed truck route.


Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. is the Delmarva chicken industry's voice as the premier membership association focusing on advocacy, education and member relations. For more information, visit dpichicken.org; like DPI on Facebook; and follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

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