MERNA, Neb. (AP) — The sound of brotherly and neighborly love resounded across the cornfields near Merna on Tuesday.
Family and friends came together to finish harvesting Greg Coleman’s corn crop. Coleman was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year and was unable to finish harvesting because of treatments.
Brother Neil Coleman of Arnold said cousin Jim Coleman of Broken Bow organized an effort that resulted in at least 10 combines and about 45 grain trucks working together to pick about 1,000 acres of corn.
“A lot of time has been spent going back and forth to Lincoln so it has interrupted (Greg’s) harvest,” Neil said. “My cousin Jim got neighbors from all over, from Merna valley, Arnold valley, Broken Bow, clear over to Sargent. Everybody’s just coming in to pick his corn in a day.”
Neil said at least 10 families were helping out, with each crew doing about 160 acres every two hours.
“It’s just humbling,” Neil told The North Platte Telegraph.
Butch Johnson, a neighbor and helper, said it was a great effort.
“It’s amazing the number of neighbors that have all come together to do something like this for somebody that’s needing it,” Johnson said.
Neil said the drivers gave up a day of their vacation to help.
“We had the combines all cleaned off and everything,” Johnson said with a laugh.
To hire the combines, Neil said, the cost is about $450-$500 an hour.
“These folks are donating all that, their employees, the use of the trucks and their tractors,” Neil said. “It’s amazing.”
The Coleman family has had four generations of farmers work the land.
“My grandpa started in 1887 and we still own the original quarter,” Neil said. “Where I grew up was started about 1890 and there’s two quarters over there. The fifth generation is coming up now. Chad Coleman, Greg’s son, also farms with his dad.”
Greg’s son Chad said he was overwhelmed by the effort.
“Neighbors, family and friends came together to help Dad finish up his harvest,” Chad said. “I just never thought it would be this big of a deal, and these guys have gone far above and beyond helping us out.”
Chad said the harvest was going faster than he thought it would.
“It was big on the Thomas Feed Mill and Adams Land and Cattle to make time and room for our harvest so we could fulfill our contracts,” Chad said.
Chad said Greg is still in treatment for the cancer.
“He’s doing his chemo and stuff, so we’re taking it one treatment at a time,” Chad said. “He just gets to feeling better and he has to go back for another treatment. It’s kind of hard to see him that way.”
Greg and his wife, LeAnne, have four adult children: Stephanie Evans, Michaela Spurling, Chad and Lindsey Taylor.
“I just want to thank everybody that’s helped,” Chad said.
Bruning Bank in Broken Bow provided meals for all the volunteers. AKRS Equipment Solutions, the John Deere dealer in Broken Bow, delivered the meals. Off Broadway, which is an assisted living facility in Broken Bow where Greg and Neil’s mother resides, baked cookies for the crews.
The Dairy Queen in Broken Bow brought out Dilly Bars for everyone.