My Generation
'Rural America at Its Best'

'Rural America at Its Best'

Part 2 to yesterday's story on a farm community harvest: what is it to help your neighbor? Harvest coordinator David Tolley shares his thoughts via audio.

I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about what happened this week, and how a hundred farmers can set aside an entire day of harvest to go help a neighboring family. How farmers are such independent-minded people that you could argue they really couldn't work for anyone else, and how they sometimes disagree with each other. After all, if you do something a certain way, it's because you think it's the best way. Anyone else is, well, wrong.

Take a family in need, though, and all those opinions tend to fly out the window. Farmers show up. They take a day off in a season that determines their entire income, and they help. It happened in Avon this week, but it happens all over the country, in harvest after harvest. The need is a sad reality but the result always warms the heart.

Gary Rohrer stood in a field south of his house this week, as Aaron Blout and Dan Williams ran combines in either end of his field and shook his head – all three families with deep roots in the community. "These people are just so generous," he said.

It's true. They are. But they don't think of it that way. "The Rohrers have been here a long time," David Tolley told me. "They're reaping what they've sown."

Dave spent untold hours coordinating this event over the past few weeks. He opened up fields the day before, and worked to make sure everyone was recognized and organized.

"We've had a good time through some tragedy – we've had some laughs today," David noted.

I did the quickest little interview with Dave, as the combines and trucks moved on to the next field and a sliver of peace descended on the Rohr farm. He and his wife, Kathy, and I stood and chatted, and he reflected on the day. Give it a listen, above, and be gentle; I'm a farm writer and not a farm broadcaster, and I don't really know what I'm doing. But Dave does and he says it well.

"This is rural America at its best," he concluded.

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