Community pitches in to help Weber family following fall farm accident

One more of the beauties of rural northeast Iowa ... Neighbors, friends, family and other area acquaintances and businesses all came together recently to help the family of Richard "Rick" Weber, Jr. after he lost his life in a farming accident earlier this fall. Enough volunteers offered their services for the Webers' fall harvest and an earlier sale of cattle (evident in surrounding photos) that some offers for assistance had to be turned away. Photos courtesy of Danielle Weber and Kathy Welsh.

by Lissa Blake

Forever grateful.

That’s how the family of the late Richard “Rick” Weber, Jr. feels about the amazing amount of support they received following his untimely passing this past fall.

According to a report from the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office, Rick and his brother, Chris, of Dubuque were performing maintenance on a forage wagon September 7 of this year in a farm field north of Churchtown in rural Lansing when they became entrapped in the equipment. Chris was reported as being seriously injured and was transported by helicopter to La Crosse, WI for treatment, while Rick was reported as having suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene of the accident.

Neighbor and cousin Wayne Weber said in the days that followed that the family had many offers of help.

“People knew he had 90 cattle consigned to a feeder sale the next week, and they saw me at the wake or around town and offered to help,” said Wayne, adding that his cousin, Chris, works as a delivery driver for Sara Lee, farming with Rick on weekends and his days off.

Wayne said when the day of the sale came, the family was in awe of how many people arrived to chip in with sorting, loading and hauling the cattle.

“We had people show up with trailers, and then some who just came to help sort and load. We had so many offers for help we had to turn some of them down,” he said.

Help the family received preparing the cattle for the sale came from Steve Scholtes, Randy Weber, Patrick and Dan Troendle, Jalen Cooper, Pat, Brian and Brandon O’Neill, Wayne and Andrew Weber, Ryan Collins, Mark Reiser, Tim and Ruby Gordan, Jimmy Hitchens, Matt and Greg Rea, Jerry Bulman, Gary Welsh, Mike Klees and others. They also are grateful to the Northeast Iowa Equity Sales Commission for help with the sale.

Wayne said again this month there were “tons of people” who offered to help with the Webers’ fall harvest.

“Four combines showed up and there were three grain carts and four semis. Again, we had to actually turn down some offers for help,” he said.

He said it was touching to see how the community pulled together to help finish the harvest. “People offered to just come and drive a tractor. Some of the neighbor ladies made snacks, cookies and desserts. Rick’s girlfriend made barbecues,” he said.

The family appreciated the fact that Innovative Ag made the time to accommodate their harvest, Mulgrew Oil of Dubuque donated fuel for the combines and tractors and Keatley Oil delivered the fuel. Farm Bureau of Waukon donated fuel for the truckers. Tri-State Hay Auction also helped the family with the sale of round bales.

Harvest volunteers included Matt Rea, Ben Mettille, Gary Welsh, Jake Zeimet, Darryl Gruber, Jimmy Hitchens, Greg Snitker, Patrick and Dan Troendle, Wayne and Andrew Weber, Randy Weber, Roger Weymiller, Dave Weymiller, Rick Weymiller, Kent Stock, Mark Weber, Mike McKee, Tyler St. Mary and others.

“We’d just like to thank all who helped and could help, and those who offered to help that couldn’t help. That’s what’s great about living in a small community,” he said.

Additional family sentiments can be found in a "Thank You" ad on Page 7B in the November 29 print edition and e-edition of The Standard.

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