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Walnut farmers pitch in for neighbor in time of need

A harvest of good deeds

WALNUT — The spirit of the farming community shined on a corn field just north of Walnut Wednesday morning.

Friends and neighbors rode in with combines, trucks and grain carts, a group of 16 men strong, to harvest a corn field that was farmed by Rob Wangelin.

Wangelin, 52, died in a motorcycle accident on Aug. 29. He farmed for 22 years in the Walnut area.

“Like farmers do, they’re dropping what they’re doing and going to come help,” said Ron Pierson, who was overseeing Wednesday’s operations. “Everybody wants to get their crops out, but yet something like this happens, they’re willing to drop what they’re doing and get it done.”

Ag View FS crops specialist Malcolm Stambaugh, who had Wangelin as a customer, said it was typical of a small community like Walnut.

“Took nothing (to get help). Everybody jumped in and got her done,” he said.

This was the third day the farmers teamed up for their fallen neighbor. They picked a 188-acre bean field at the farm where Wangelin lived and another bean field near New Bedford, Pierson said. Wednesday’s corn field at Ruth Ann Wangelin’s farm, Rob’s mother, was 170 acres.

“It’s kind of all spread out. It’s worked out pretty well,” Pierson said. “The guys have volunteered their time to do it, reached out to find out what they could do to help. It’s been good.”

Ruth Ann Wangelin was simply overwhelmed when she saw all the equipment move into the fields.

“It was overwhelming what they’ve done,” she said. “It’s such a relief knowing that most of it’s (the crop) out. These guys are just fabulous. I couldn’t ask for anything better than what they’ve done for me and my family and his children. Just fabulous.

“I’m thankful for the Lord I live in a small community. Because otherwise you go into a bigger cities and they wouldn’t do what they’ve done for us.”

Wednesday’s crew started about 9 a.m. at the Wangelin Farm and made it through by mid-afternoon despite having one combine breakdown.

“It’s been a good fall so far. That’s helped a lot,” Pierson said. “Crops are coming out fast. Boy, the corn and beans both really dried down fast. Got that hot and dry weather, really dried out things early.”

Pierson said the harvest time has especially been hard on Wangelin’s son, Andrew, who always helped his father run a grain cart.

The Wangelin harvest crew was made up of Deb Carr, Ed Donnelly, Gail Edlefson, Mike Ganschow, Jim Ganschow, Greg Gonigam, Kendall Guither, Galen Hooper, Bill Lind, Matt Lind, Dean Perino, Carl Pierson, Ron Pierson, Reece Pierson, James Schoff, Ray Schoff, Schoff Farm Service, Malcolm Stambaugh, Steve Schrader, Mark Schmidt, Curt Vincent, Chris VonHolten and Albrecht Farms.

Nutrien provided lunch the first two days while Brenda Ingram, Ruth Ann Wangelin’s niece, handled Wednesday’s lunch.

Ag View FS and MJ Seed donated the fuel.

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