Helping a friend in need
WORTHINGTON -- A farm accident that happened in the blink of an eye earlier this month has kept Kent Johnson of rural Worthington in a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital recovering from head trauma and numerous bone fractures. While his family is by his side, his friends and neighbors came together to finish his fall field work.
Fifteen farmers arrived with rippers, chisel plows and tractors on Oct. 15, to do in four hours what would have taken Johnson's sons three or four days to complete.
"In our neighborhood, when there's a tragedy in the family, we've always had people come together and do the tillage or the harvest to help the family so they don't have to worry about that," said Steve Jeppesen, of Worthington, who along with Joe Harding prepared burgers and pulled pork sandwiches for the crew. Neighbor ladies delivered bars, and salads and baked beans were also donated.
Johnson's neighbors, Tom Wiese and Keith Stanton, organized the work crew, with farmers coming as far away as Brewster and Reading to help till the roughly 380 acres of corn and soybean ground. Johnson had completed the harvest prior to his accident.
Barb Johnson said on Monday her brother-in-law remains in acute care at Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls. He was injured on Oct. 6, while trying to knock down a tree with a tractor and loader. The tree fell on top of him.
Jeppesen said neighbors in the area have come together numerous times over the years to help a farmer during a tragedy.
"A couple of years ago we had a death in one of the families in the area," he said. "There's quite a number of times we've done it.
"The first one I remember was when my dad had a heart attack in 1955 and the neighbors came and picked the corn and shelled it," Jeppesen added. "It's a long history of helping neighbors. It's good that the local community can work together to try to ease the load for the family."
The Johnsons are grateful for the help that was given, and offered a thank you to those who have helped over the past few weeks.
"It truly gave peace of mind and comfort to the family. Your care and the support meant so much," they said.
Among the farmers who helped with tillage were Stanton and Wiese, along with Jared Ahlers, Jerry and Char Breuker, Jed Breuker, Craig Stude, Curt Stude, Henry Greve, Randy Robinson, Larry and Roger Doeden, Donny Obermoller, Bruce Burnham, Burdell Kuhl and Bill Weitgenant.