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Published October 26, 2010, 10:42 AM

Sick Nebraska farmer finds harvest help from others

HARBINE, Neb. — Despite harvest season arguably being the most hectic time of the year for farmers, a group from the Jansen area took a day off from their regular work to help a neighbor in need.

By: Scott Koperski, Beatrice Daily Sun

HARBINE, Neb. — Despite harvest season arguably being the most hectic time of the year for farmers, a group from the Jansen area took a day off from their regular work to help a neighbor in need.

Doctors found a mass on Roy Kendall’s pancreas in late September. Due to multiple doctor trips to Omaha and Lincoln for tests and treatments, which require him to be inactive, Roy feared his crops would go unharvested this season.

That’s when his friends and co-workers came into action.

Armed with five combines, five trucks provided by the Jansen Co-op and more people coming and going throughout the day, farmers set out to harvest his crops in one day.

“It hurts that you can’t do it yourself, but these folks really came through,” Roy said. “I can’t show my appreciation enough.”

Roy said that he’s lived on the farm and took it over more than 60 years ago when his dad died. Roy was only 15 years old at the time.

In the early years Roy received help from his brother and neighbors, but has been self-reliant for most of career.

His wife, Cindy Kendall, said she can tell it hurts her husband to not be able to harvest his crops this season.

“He’d rather be out there doing it himself but he can’t,” Cindy said. “It’s overwhelming. We’re blessed that we have such good friends and family and everything. It’s a lot to be thankful for.”

Roy’s daughter, Christina Lyons, said that she’s hopeful that all will go well with her father’s illness.

“My dad was diagnosed with a mass on his pancreas and is still undergoing some treatment and we’re not sure where we are in that process,” Lyons said. “We’re very optimistic, but he’s still undergoing some treatment.”

In addition to farming, Ken also works at the Co-op in Jansen. When his co-workers learned he wouldn’t be able to harvest on his own this year, they began recruiting volunteers to help with the harvest.

Brad Hynek, who drove one of three trucks from the Co-op, said that he was happy to help Roy because his own father found himself in a similar situation once.

“My dad got hurt about 45 years ago right around harvest time and the farmers got together to help,” Hynek said. “You just don’t see this anymore. It’s kind of a thing of the past.”

Roy’s 130 acres of corn and 88 acres of beans were no problem for the crew to take out in a day. Hynek estimated that an individual combine can harvest between 88 and 100 acres in a day.

Following a 9 a.m. start, farmers were done with the corn before 1:30 p.m. and ready to move onto the beans.

Jim Goosman, who drove a combine, said that all the crops harvested would be taken to Jansen. Goosman said that despite having other crops to harvest, he was happy be able to lend a hand to Roy.

“I think for stuff like this, guys will come together to help out,” Goosman said. “I know I’d want somebody to do it for me if I was in that situation. He must be pretty sick or he’d be out here doing it himself if he could.”

Lyons expressed gratitude to the people who donated their time and equipment to help finish her dad’s harvest.

“He has a lot of really good friends in the area,” Lyons said. “He’s farmed and lived here all his life and we’re thankful to all of the people and neighbors that have come together to take care of his harvest this year. It’s just incredible to me.”

Roy, who was fighting back tears, said he would be unable to express enough thanks to all the people who helped complete his harvest this year.

“This is the way the farming community and rural America is,” Roy said. “It hurts to watch, but it’s just tremendous to get this kind of help. When it hits home, it hits home.”