I hadn’t written for the paper in such a long time then two stories fell in my lap – and on such different subjects! (Read my last post about a new boutique in Miller.)
This story is so heart-warming. Farm Rescue is such an awesome organization. I loved learning more about them while seeing first hand how they were helping a neighboring family in need. I had a wonderful morning of interviewing several Farm Rescue volunteer workers as well as Gary and Janet Kopecky.
Below are more photos than I had room to include in the newspaper and the article as it appeared in The Miller Press Nov. 5, 2014.
Kopecky’s harvest aided by Farm Rescue
Gary “Smoke” and Janet Kopecky got a much appreciated boost last Thursday and Friday as Farm Rescue helped harvest their corn crop west of Polo.
Farm Rescue provides planting, harvesting and haying assistance to farm families that have experienced a major injury, illness or natural disaster. Their mission is to help family farmers bridge crises so they have an opportunity to continue viable operations.
According to their website, “One of the biggest financial drains on a family is an unexpected medical injury or illness and, of course, a natural disaster. It is even more pronounced on a farm where a family’s livelihood depends on the ability to plant, harvest or hay a crop.”
Gary Kopecky was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last April. Originally, doctors scheduled what they thought would be a small surgery but found the tumor larger than anticipated and also many lymph nodes had been affected, turning it into a 10-hour procedure and an extended hospital stay. After returning home and experiencing complications from that surgery, he returned to the hospital for an ileostomy and another two weeks in the hospital.
According to his wife, Janet, he is on the ninth of twelve chemotherapy treatments and was, in fact, wearing a chemo infusion pump while driving the truck to and from the cornfield. His treatments are scheduled every two weeks, depending on the recovery needed from the prior treatment.
She stressed the importance for people to get a colonoscopy. “There’s just never a slow time in farming or ranching, make the time to get it done.”
The couple appreciates the help many family, neighbors, friends, and local organizations offered over the past eight months. Smoke’s sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Dennis Serfling of Aberdeen, moved in for almost three months to calve out the cows during the initial surgeries and recoveries. They relied on help from his brother Ron Kopecky and neighbors Mike and Joe Aesoph.
Aesophs normally custom plant for the couple, and did so this year but without much input from Kopeckys. When it came time for harvest, Fred and Paul Schaefers jumped in to help cut silage. To combine the corn, several sources mentioned Farm Rescue. Ron Kopecky’s neighbor worked with Farm Rescue and mentioned the organization might be a great option. Janet commented that the paperwork was fairly easy to complete and fax in. “The next morning, I got a phone call from a gal and we were setting it all up!”
On Thursday, Oct. 30 Farm Rescue volunteers Ken Chyle and Kent Koostra, pulled into Kopecky’s cornfield with a donated combine and semi and trailer.
Chyle retired from farming in Tennesee seven years ago. He read about the Farm Rescue organization in a magazine in 2011 and felt that “I was at the point in my life where I could start to give back.”
Retired Kentucky farmer Koostra, also read about the organization in a magazine a year and a half ago and felt motivated to volunteer.
Farm Rescue has assisted over 300 farm families since their inception 2006.