Small town creates 'amazing harvest' for neighbor in need

Community bands together to harvest sick farmer's crop
community harvests sick farmers crop good stuff newday _00002902


    Community bands together to harvest sick farmer's crop


Community bands together to harvest sick farmer's crop 00:38

Story highlights

  • A small farm town in Illinois comes together to help a man in need
  • Carl Bates was diagnosed with terminal cancer in July, preventing him from harvesting his crop
  • Around 40 people, 16 trucks and 10 combines harvested corn from 450 acres of Bates' farm

(CNN)In July, Carl Bates was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Doctors gave him just months to live.

Bates, a grain farmer in the town of Galva, Illinois, became physically unable to endure the rigorous hours in the field, according to CNN affiliate KWQC.
"It has progressed pretty fast as of late," said his son, Jason Bates. "With all that acreage to pick, my dad was concerned about getting it done."
    So they tapped the shoulders of their neighbors -- asking them to help out a bit here and there when Carl couldn't.
    The response was overwhelming. On September 25, people came from every pocket of Galva, hoping to help.
    "Everybody kind of came running," Jason Bates said, when he mentioned to residents in his small hometown that a family member was in need.
    Around 40 people helped harvest 450 acres of the Bates family farm.
    "We talked to a couple guys, which turned into another couple guys, and another couple guys," Jason said.
    The day of the harvest, around 40 people showed up, including ladies with lunch. So did 16 trucks and 10 combines -- covering over 450 acres in a single day.
    "All the ladies came in and cooked lunch," Mike Rumbold said.
    A creative effort captured the "amazing harvest."
    A neighbor with a plane used for crop scouting went up with a camera and shot the aerial photo that's taking social media by storm. Drone video was even shot.

    'Near and dear to our hearts'

    Looking at it one way, Galva is a small farm town. It's got a population of around 2,500 and just one school.
    But looking at it another way, it's more like a big family.
    Carl Bates, in passenger seat, was "touched and humbled" by the effort, said Jason Bates.
    Mike Rumbold, of Rumbold & Kuhn -- a third-generation agriculture management company based in the area -- said that Carl Bates, a longtime customer, was a special guy.
    "He's just a caring individual, very near and dear to our hearts," Rumbold said.
    When the company caught wind of Carl's illness and his limitations, it wanted to do everything it could, donating 12 of the 16 trucks and its grain elevator.
    "He isn't the type to want to ask for anything -- but he'd be the first guy to come running," said Jason Bates.

    'It means a lot to our family'

    A total of 16 trucks and 10 combines were used for the harvest.
    The harvest took 12 hours, and by the end of it, Carl Bates was "touched and humbled," his son said.
    Around 100,000 bushels of corn were harvested that day -- and the bonds of a "typical Midwest farm town," as Jason Bates calls it, proved bountiful.
    "It means a lot to our family that people care so much," Jason Bates said.
    A neighbor used a crop-scouting plane to take the aerial pictures of the harvest.
    Carl is currently in hospice care.
    His son is appreciative for the outpouring of goodwill.
    "It's really a testament to the people in this area," Jason Bates said. "They would have done the same thing for others."