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Neighbors come together for ‘amazing’ harvest bee to help the Wheelings

When neighbors found out Dan Wheeling was hospitalized following a farm accident, they immediately went into action.

9/18/18 (Tue)

When neighbors found out Dan Wheeling was hospitalized following a farm accident, they immediately went into action.

A caravan of combines, trucks and grain hoppers hit the road last Tuesday (Sept. 11) with the destination the Wheeling farm east of Kenmare to carry out a harvest bee.

When they arrived, they put their machines into several durum fields and less than five hours later had 700 acres harvested.

Fifteen combines, 25 semi-trailers and numerous grain hoppers were on scene to straight cut the grain.

Wheeling, and his wife Aimee, were overwhelmed.

“I have a hard time taking help, but this was amazing,” Dan Wheeling said. “The pavement was packed with combines. It was so organized, it went like clockwork.”

On the mend and wearing a brace on his back, Wheeling wanted to get involved somehow but later realized there’s no way he could have pulled this off.

“I told them I just have to stay out of it,” he said. “We’ve got good people here. Where are you going to find people like that?”

Wheeling was climbing a ladder on his truck to get a grain sample and fell off, landing on the ground. He injured his spine and spent three days in the hospital.

He doesn’t remember falling off the truck. He was asked by doctors and told them he doesn’t remember those moments.

“I don’t remember falling,” Wheeling said. “I was getting a sample and the next thing I knew I was lying on the ground.”

He said his chest hurt and thought he was having a heart attack. He went to the hospital in Kenmare and he was treated for heart attack protocol.

“So there we went down the road in the ambulance,” Wheeling said. “They sent me to Minot.”

He admitted he was getting stressed in the three days while in the hospital as he wondered how he was going to get the crop harvested.

Aimee contacted Farm Rescue to see if it could assist and when the application was quickly approved, that helped Dan breathe a little easier.

But then the neighbors found out and started mobilizing Monday night. Ron Jensen was one of several organizers of the event.

“They needed to get the crop off,” Jensen said. “I was amazed at how fast people reacted. The best way I can describe it is that’s just how our community is. To see people come together like that is unbelievable.”

Jensen said he certainly appreciated everybody being so cooperative. It made it much easier for the organizers to get things lined up on behalf of the Wheelings.

The operation itself was like a well-oiled machine. The logistics of how smoothly everything unfolded also amazed Wheeling. He said he was worried somebody would run into someone else, an operator would break down or someone would get injured.

None of that happened. The intent was to harvest durum and that’s exactly what they did with no extra baggage.

According to Wheeling, there were 50 people who signed in to enjoy a meal sponsored by Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative. He believes more may have participated for a short time.

“There were some people there I didn’t even know,” he said. “They were coming from all over.”

With such an incredible volume of grain harvested in an afternoon, Wheeling knew the farm didn’t have the capacity to handle it and he didn’t want the volunteer truck drivers to have to haul the grain any long distance.

Enter Renville Elevator Co.

Wheeling said more than half the grain was shipped to Tolley, a distance of about 10 miles.

“We needed a short run and we binned some,” he said. “Renville Elevator not only took that grain, there were employees out there helping.”

Wheeling was able to meet everyone who attended the meal and he was able to walk albeit gingerly.

Reluctant to name individuals, he didn’t want to leave anyone out. He said he would have felt bad if something like that happened so his choice was to thank all the neighbors and friends who came out to help.

As far as businesses, he did name them and said they are “awesome.”

They included Renville Elevator Co., Blue Goose Trucking of Mohall, and Farmers Union Oil, Gooseneck Implement, Farmers Union Insurance, Town & Country Credit Union and Gartner’s Jack & Jill, all of Kenmare.

He was especially appreciative of Burke-Divide going above and beyond to feed a small army of volunteers.

But that isn’t the end of this story.

On Thursday, Farm Rescue pulled in from Grenora and started combining chickpeas on some of Wheeling’s property near Donnybrook.

Levi Wielenga is the on-site operations manager. He said three combines were going; Wheeling’s own machine and the Farm Rescue combines.

“We got one out here from Gooseneck Implement and the other we got from a grant from the Englestad Foundation of Grand Forks,” Wielenga said. “They donated $250,000 and we are very grateful to them and Gooseneck for giving back.”

Farm Rescue now operates in six states; North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Iowa.

Wielenga said the biggest presence remains in North Dakota with approximately 70 percent of the jobs completed across the state.

From Grenora they came to Kenmare. Then it was on to Garrison and Harvey before taking on several farms in South Dakota.

For the Wheelings, Farm Rescue was dedicated to combining 600 acres of chickpeas.

“In the past 13 years, we have helped more than 600 farm and ranch families,” Wielenga said. “We are tremendously proud to help them and we’re proud of the sponsors including Gooseneck Implement. We’re thankful to them for stepping up.”

On Friday afternoon, Wheeling was at a loss for words on how these two groups came together in a matter of four days to combine 1,300 acres of crop land.

“It’s just amazing,” Wheeling said. “It’s just amazing. I don’t know what else to say. I’m completely amazed.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!