Farm Rescue joins in local fall harvest brigade

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Gerald Reeves (left) said his family's farmland is an important part of its heritage and the Farm Rescue harvesting of crops from that land carries a special meaning for him and his brothers, Garret (second from right) and Greg (right). They are the sons of Gary and Linda Reeves, farming near Seney. Farm Rescue Volunteer Levi Weilenga (second from left) added the volunteer effort is at the same time an equally special "blessing" for him and his wife, Carol, also assisting. (Sentinel photo by Jolene Stevens)

A "godsend" is how Gerald Reeves described the scene Saturday as he and his brothers, Greg and Garret, watched the combine maneuvering through an 80-acre corn field just outside Seney.

The field is owned by their father, Gary Reeves.

"While we have the means to get it done, having this volunteer help at this time is definitely a godsend for our family," Gerald, of Winchester, Ohio, said with regard to the Farm Rescue assistance at the farm.

Carol Weilenga and the Weilengas' son, Lincoln, 11 months, take a brief timeout during the corn harvest at the Reeves' farm. (Sentinel photo by Jolene Stevens)

"What with our father battling cancer and our mother, just off treatment for cancer as well, it's been something of a double whammy for the family," he said.

The family is close and because of their bond, they share priorities, Gerald said. Topping the list: God first and family second.

"We also consider our farm ground as a part of our family make-up and our heritage," Reeves said. "It's a part of who we are, and coming from this area you wouldn't expect anything different."

Greg Reeves, watching the combine alongside his brother, agreed about the family's appreciativeness of the Farm Rescue team reaching out to the Reeves family.

"It's a great help, for all of us, to get the crop in for the year," he said

In August, he'd been at the local Pizza Ranch, among local Farm Rescue sponsors, and had been given information on the volunteer organization coming into Iowa for the first time.

Greg and his father, farming for 49 years, contacted the organization and, within a few weeks, were accepted for the program.

By Saturday morning, Farm Rescue Volunteer Levi Weilenga, Sioux City had already finished harvest in a Reeves soybean field, with an estimated 30 bushel per acre yield, and were ready to start combining Reeves' corn.

"They're good people, very supportive," Reeves said as he gestured toward Weilenga climbing down from the combine cab. "We couldn't have asked for a better hand to help us."

Weilenga's wife, Carol, also a Farm Rescue volunteer, and the couple's 11-month old son, Lincoln, joined him.

Also walking down the field rows was a third Reeves brother, Garret, assisting with the harvesting.

"I never thought it would happen," Levis said. "It's wonderful to have the opportunity to be a Farm Rescue volunteer in my home state and especially to be serving local people here so close to home."

Employed full-time as an engineer for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Weilenga has done been a part of earlier Farm Rescue projects in North Dakota and Minnesota and various other service projects across the country for other organizations, some within his church, the Friendship Community Church, in Sergeant Bluff.

Having his wife assist him this time by driving the Farm Rescue's semitrailer to transport grain from the Reeves field has been especially rewarding, he said.

So is having his son along to enjoy time with him in the cab of the combine, he added.

"We both consider what we are doing as a special blessing," Carol said. "We feel it's great for our family to have the opportunity to help when the opportunity arises. We could someday find ourselves in a similar situation, and we'd want someone to help us out, too."

Levi put it this way:

"For us, it's something we feel God has had a hand in and wanted us to do," he said. "It's a way to serve him as well the members of his family. It's a good thing for all of us."

He added that, while the end of this year's harvest season is fast-approaching, rural families with illness or other hardships may still contact Farm Rescue for possible assistance to ease their load.

Additional information is available at or by calling 701-252-2017.