Tabor benefits from the gift of a Holt tractor from alum

In 1952, Elmer Bob Kroeker attended Tabor College for his freshman year. He grew up in Enid, Okla., and physician George Franz?a member of the Mennonite Brethren Church Kroeker attended growing up?paid for his first year at Tabor.

Kroeker, who has never forgotten Franz?s gesture of generosity, has been donating to Tabor?s Endowed Scholar?ship Fund every year since 1991. His willingness to give back to other Tabor students is because of his faith.

?To be raised Mennonite Brethren, you don?t forget it,? Kroeker said. ?I didn?t forget Tabor.?

In May, Kroeker made his annual donation for the scholarship fund, but his generosity in 2015 did not stop there.

Kroeker loves old tractors. He bought a Holt tractor in 2005. On and off for the next five years, he would spend time restoring it.

?It was quite unique to some extent?it?s not real rare,? he said. ?There were 337 made of the one that I had. I?ve restored eight. It?s just something to do.?

The restoration project was one he did not complete for a very good reason.

?I really didn?t want to finish it because, to finish it, you have to start it with a crank,? he said. ?Well, that leaves me out. I?m not going to mess with that.

?I finished as far as I wanted to go,? he added. ?I wouldn?t take it to the show because I wouldn?t be able to start it. Then I had the idea that I?d rather have it in the museum where the machine kind of belongs.?

Kroeker and wife Connie, who currently live in Round Rock, Texas, a suburb of Austin, decided to sell the tractor to someone who would finish the restoration.

Peter Holt is the CEO of Holt Cat?the largest Caterpillar dealership in the United States?and chairman, CEO and owner of the National Basketball Associ?ation?s San Antonio Spurs.

Holt also is the great-grandson of Benjamin Holt, founder of Holt Manufac?turing Co. In the mid-1880s, the company produced the first horse-drawn ?link-belt combined harvesters.? Holt went on to manufacture steam traction engines.

Kroeker decided he wanted to sell his tractor to Peter Holt and then donate the money from the sale to Tabor.

Kroeker worked with Kim Wiens?a Tabor advancement officer working in Texas?to organize the sale.

Holt knows the right people who will finish what Kroeker started and restore the tractor to its original condition.

In a few years, Kroeker?s wish of having his tractor displayed in a museum will become a reality. Kroeker graciously donated the proceeds to Tabor and designated the gift for the Center for the Arts.

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