Wednesday, October 5, 2016
NEWMAN — Dave Young is facing many adjustments after an accident in August left him blind in his right eye. At first with little depth perception, he was having problems with seemingly simple tasks such as putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. It took him a few days to be able to do that again. The hardest part for Young, a farmer in Douglas County, might be watching others in the fields this fall after years in the driver's seat of a combine. Unable to operate the equipment, Young, 59, wasn't sure how he was going to get this year's crop out of the fields. Luckily, a group of neighbors in the Newman area and others from across the county rallied to his aid, taking a day off from working their own fields last week to harvest Young's corn last week. “I've been stewing about it for a month,” Young said while still making phone calls to make sure the grain was delivered to nearby elevators. “This feels like a great big hug. It's a good feeling.” Tyler Harvey, the Douglas County Farm Bureau manager, found that everyone who heard about what Young needed was more than willing to help. Young was injured when a pry bar slipped, hitting his face while working on a semi-truck.
“All the time we think about wearing safety equipment using power tools, but hand tools can hurt just as bad,” Young said. “One little slip and I'm paying for it.” Harvey said 230 acres in five fields needed to be harvested, a task that normally takes several weeks. Instead, it got done in a day with the help of all the volunteers. “Seeing so many people come together, it takes the weight off,” Harvey said. “This is really what the agriculture community is like when there is a time of need. Once word got out, the help flowed in.” Dave Young's wife, Debby, was among the family members and neighbors helping to prepare sack lunches to take to the fields as a way to thank the volunteers. They even made sure an FS truck was available to replenish any fuel that the volunteers used for their equipment during the day. Debby Young said it's been a hard adjustment at a time of year when Dave is usually out in the fields for more than 12 hours a day, something she knows he'd rather be doing now.
“We can't express how much we appreciate the help,” Debby Young said. “Harvest is a stressful time in farming. This is when we get our pay day.” Family members have driven in from both nearby and out of state to help. They were impressed to see the show of support. “I drove in here and I was almost in tears when I saw all the guys lined up,” said Gerald Day of Monticello, Dave Young's father-in-law. Taking any time off during harvest can be a lot to ask as farmers want to complete the work as efficiently as possible, not knowing how weather conditions can change, Harvey said.
“It's always a race against the clock,” Harvey said. “One of the things about farming is being used to change.” Some of the neighboring farmers shrugged off what they were doing, saying it was just what they do. “We've got to help when somebody needs it,” said Greg Luth while preparing to hop back in a combine to finish off one of the fields. Harvey said after knowing Young through various Farm Bureau activities that he would do the same thing if somebody else needed the help. “I'm glad we could help out and coordinate this,” Harvey said. “It's easy to help somebody like him.” Harvey said a similar effort is likely to be needed to help with Young's soybean fields, but for the time being, the focus was on corn, which was ready to be harvested. Young isn't sure what the future will hold for his recovery, but he remains hopeful that he will be back in the fields for spring planting.