100 Farmers, Neighbors Help Harvest Iowa Farmer’s Crops After He Died Suddenly From Cancer
BY TIME NOVEMBER 26, 2022
Paul Baker, courtesy of Melissa Baker
Today’s good news story was brought to my attention by blogger and author Noelle Granger. It comes from the Epoch Times Newsletter, and here it is in its entirety. Thanks so much, Noelle, for submitting this one.
When an Iowa farmer died suddenly and unexpectedly from lung cancer, his neighbors rallied together within days to reap the corn crops he left behind. His family, deeply humbled, are grateful for the tight-knit community that showed their love and saved their harvest.
Born and raised in Creston, Iowa, Paul Baker farmed around 500 acres of land, raising beef cattle, soybeans, and corn. Nobody, including Paul and his wife of 46 years, Lynn Baker, had any idea Paul was battling cancer.
After he became seriously ill in March, his health never improved. “He didn’t ever get his breath back and [had] no energy,” his wife, Lynn, 68, told The Epoch Times. “We finally went to the doctor about a month ago.”
A devout Catholic, Paul placed his faith in God but was “just aggravated that he didn’t feel better,” his wife said. He kept farming up until the day he was admitted to the hospital and died on October 20 at the age of 66.
Their daughter Melissa Baker said, “The community knew something was wrong … farmers and friends had already worked with my uncle John to harvest the soybeans while he was in the hospital. They just volunteered, nobody asked them to do it … that’s what happened with the corn, too.”
When the Bakers’ community learned Paul had passed, they called Don, the husband of John and Melissa’s sister Meredith, who plans to take over the farm, offering to help in any way they could.
“By the time we went to the visitation and the service, I think we had a huge spreadsheet of all these different teams of farmers,” Melissa said, who lives three hours away in Cedar Rapids. “They just wanted to help my dad because he would do it for anybody else.”
On October 27, two days after Paul’s funeral, some 30 combine harvesters, 38 semis, and countless tractors and buggies arrived on the Bakers’ land before sunrise. Melissa guessed some 100 people lent their time, equipment, love, and labor for a full day’s work harvesting crops.
Local businesses donated breakfast and lunches to the farmers, and children from nearby St. Malachy Catholic School, where Paul’s granddaughters attend, decorated lunch bags and crafted thank you letters. Melissa tried to visit every field to thank them personally and was quickly overwhelmed.
Lynn said, “It was really emotional. Of course, we cried a lot, but we were just overwhelmed and felt very loved … at the end of the day, everybody gathered together, and that was really fun just to see everybody celebrate [Paul] and talk about him. I think he would be nothing but pleased to see all of us together.
“People are really good.”
Melissa said, “It’s nice to see that people really do care and are willing to help and show up. I know that happens in other communities, but there’s something really special about a small-town rural community.”
Lynn describes her late husband, a Knight of Columbus who was very active in the church, as “very kind and loving.” He worked over 40 hours a week for his whole life but still made enough time for his family, including his two grandchildren, and loved telling jokes to strangers.
“He was just a very personable, outgoing, loving human,” Lynn said. “If anybody needed help, he was the first to help them.”
Paul’s faith kept him strong until the end; Meredith told the Diocese of Des Moines that when her father’s time came, he was ready.
“On the last day that he was with us, he said he was waiting for the Lord,” Meredith said. “We’re a very faith-based family. It was very comforting for us to know that he was good, and he was ready, and that he would continue to be with us always but in a different capacity.”
The Good news here is people pitch in unselfishly to help a family in trouble. Today’s JohnKu talks about helping. I hope you have a great weekend.
Do You? by John W. Howell
When you see trouble,
Do you go out of your way . . .
To help or avoid.
I am over at Story Empire today. Come see me I’m talking about humor.