September is harvest time in North Dakota. Like his neighbors, farmer Lane Unhjem was hard at it—until the unthinkable happened. When Unhjem’s combine caught fire, he went into cardiac arrest.
Unhjem was airlifted to a hospital in Minot where his condition was reported to be stable, but it was clear he wouldn’t be climbing back into the driver’s seat of a combine harvester anytime soon.
With 1,000 acres of crops yet to be harvested, Unhjem and his family were looking at taking a huge financial hit.
That’s when family, friends, and neighbors stepped in to help.
After word of Unhjem’s predicament got out, it was all hands on deck—or in this case, all hands on combines, grain carts, and semi-trucks.
“I talked to a couple of farmers, got their equipment, and then other people just started calling and we had equipment offered from all over the place in the county, and their workers to go with it,” family friend Jenna Binde said in an interview with KFYR TV News.
In all, about 60 farmers joined the effort, setting aside their own harvests to get Unhjem’s durum wheat and canola crops in their respective bins in a record time of seven hours.
While definitely pleased by the outcome, Binde wasn’t in the least surprised that the community pulled together when one of their own was in need.
“Everybody knows the Unhjems, and they’re good people…” she said.
“[It’s] just kind of the farming way of life, too. You help your neighbor out when they need it and don’t expect anything in return.”
“Sowing kindness reaps its own rewards” is a fine sentiment, but seeing it in action is just the sort of heartening harvest we all could use a lot more of these days.