Leaving their own wheat standing uncut in the fields, around 20 friends and neighbors of the late Bruce Otte joined forces Friday afternoon to cut his wheat fields south of Canton.
Otte?s cousin, Loyd Otte, and longtime friend Gene Vogts spearheaded the effort.
Vogts said he expected six to 10 combines to show up as well as several trucks and grain carts. Though some local farmers lent their own wheat trucks, Team Marketing Alliance donated the trucks and fuel needed to see the job done.
TMA is the grain division of four area farm cooperatives, including Cooperative Grain & Supply, which Otte had been serving as a board member at the time of his death.
Vogts said they hoped to harvest all 850 acres of Otte?s wheat in around four hours.
?He would do this for anyone,? said Otte?s widow, Diane, about her late husband. ?He?s been here, farming, all his life.
?It was his love.?
Diane and Bruce celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last August. He was killed instantly Jan. 7 in a farm accident at the age of 59.
?Everything has its ups and downs,? she said. ?You just hang on to the good times.?
Otte said the community and their church has been so caring.
?We have such a strong Christian faith and I know (God will) take care of us,? she said. ?It?s definitely life-changing. But we go on for others.?
Despite the sacrifice of money, labor and precious time, Vogts seemed to voice the spirit of those gathered.
?It?s just what we do,? he said.