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Friends and neighbors pitch in...

Despite having their own crops to harvest, friends and neighbors of Rodney Landers dropped what they were doing to come to the family’s aid to help get the harvest completed.

9/06/16 (Tue)

Landers harvest . . . Jeff King rolls down the field while dumping canola into a grain cart driven by Ted Vance on Rodney Landers’ property near Kenaston last Tuesday (Sept. 1) afternoon. Friends and neighbors have come together to assist the Landers family after Rodney Landers lost his life in a motorcycle accident Aug. 19.

By Marvin Baker

Despite having their own crops to harvest, friends and neighbors of Rodney Landers dropped what they were doing to come to the family’s aid to help get the harvest completed.

Rodney Landers lost his life in a motorcycle accident near Donnybrook Aug. 19, just when the harvest was beginning.

Longtime friend Greg Ankenbauer started organizing producers to assist the Landers family in harvesting five quarters of canola, as well as some durum and peas.

“Rodney was a good neighbor and that’s the neighbor policy, isn’t it?” Ankenbauer said. “I hate to ask people because of their own work, but we’re getting it done. We’re doing pretty good. The pressure’s off.”

Ankenbauer said he’s never done anything like this before and has kept a list of people he’s contacted.

He admitted he has “too many irons in the fire” right now as he’s trying to get his own harvest done and get hay put up for his livestock, but Rodney would do the same for him or any of the other neighbors with the combines rolling.

“He was good at helping everyone,” Ankenbauer said. “He was always willing to lend a helping hand.”

The first thought was to straight cut the canola, but as the list of volunteers quickly grew, Ankenbauer knew that wouldn’t work because each combine has a different header making it inefficient.

So the decision was made to swath the grain and that too took some labor, including Ankenbauer, but it didn’t take long to have six farmers ready to get the canola cut and dried before combining.

Ankenbauer said Rodney Landers had a lot of friends and it became evident while organizing the work parties. A number of truck drivers from Minot and Ryder offered their assistance to get the grain hauled to its destination.

Dave King is one of the neighbors who is helping. He said it’s just something you do when someone needs help.

King went to school with Landers and said he is trying to help the family as much as possible.

“It’s just the neighborly thing to do,” he said.

Kevin King said it is something the Landers family would do for his family if the roles were reversed.

“We got caught up so there is nothing pressing right now and the combines are available,” King said. “We had a couple of swathers going too.”

According to Ankenbauer, there’s approximately three quarters of canola to finish and one quarter of durum.

Beyond that, there’s about 80 acres of soybeans, but Landers’ son-in-law Mugur will be able to handle that himself without the pressure of having to do the rest of the crop.

Debbie Landers said Mugur, who is 28 and from Romania, had been helping her husband for the past three years, but never imagined something like this would occur.

She said the guys have been really good to help and guide him through a difficult time, and he has really stepped up.

She said it’s a huge relief knowing everyone is so committed to helping out, and she is helping as much as she can.

“Rod would have been the first to help out,” Debbie Landers said. “There’s so many friends and neighbors, bringing food and feeding my crew. It’s overwhelming support.”

But the support goes well beyond the harvest crew, according to Landers. She said the entire community has reached out in her time of need.

“I have the deepest gratitude for all the help, the food, the love, the memorials,” she said. “Just the emotional support has been important. This isn’t something you expect.”

She strongly believes that the neighbors have removed a burden that otherwise would have been overwhelming to have to deal with.

To give an idea of how everyone felt about their friend and neighbor, one day before Rodney’s funeral, four swathers were clipping canola and three combines were harvesting durum.

She said Mugur knows where the grain needs to be hauled or stored, and he had been learning how to operate a combine. The crew is always asking her questions and keeping her in the loop about what is happening out in the fields.

“I tell the guys not to sacrifice their own crop, but I know these guys and they probably would anyway,” Landers said. “I just can’t remember all the offers.”

One of the friends helping out was Ted Vance, a beekeeper who was riding with Rodney Landers when the accident occurred.

Debbie said he took the situation hard, but the best therapy was to get out in the field and help his friend.

Vance had been taking the grain cart up to the combines so they could unload and continue down the field.

The word went out in Stanley where the Landers attend church and offers have come in from there to assist.

Friends from Garrison have indicated, they were interested in helping out. Debbie added that at one time, Rodney drove his combine all the way to Garrison to help his friends harvest their crop.

Debbie wanted the public to know that she is grateful and remains overwhelmed by all the support the family is getting.

“It’s just amazing, I don’t know what we could do without them,” she said. “When you have eight guys at your table at the end of the day, you feel pretty humbled.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!