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News :: Neighbors help bring in Howard Schoonover's final harvest
· 8:11am October 22nd, 2012
Howard Schoonover’s friends and neighbors gathered to remember him one more time, honoring a life-long farmer the best way farmers know how: By finishing his work.
Schoonover died of cancer July 29. Shortly after his funeral, friends and neighbors began planning to harvest his fields.
Dustin Schirm and Mark Kotouc began recruiting area farmers, along with seed company representatives, to help. Eventually nearly 30 people were somehow involved in the project, spending two days to harvest the soybeans and corn in Schoonover’s fields in the Garrison/Dysart area. The day of the corn harvest, the work began around 8 a.m. and was finished by 5 p.m.
“It was a very nice gathering and remembrance of our friend,” said Kotouc. “It felt great to do something nice to help his family and get them through a rough summer.
Kotouc also thanked those who helped, but said everyone was very glad to have a part in this effort.
“We thanked everyone for coming and taking time out of their schedule, but they thanked us for inviting them, and they said it made them feel good to help,” says Kotouc.
Schoonover’s death was one more challenge in a year full of them for his family and neighbors. The Schoonovers and most of their neighbors saw significant damage to their home or farms in the July 11, 2011 wind storm. Then came the drought, and Howard’s illness.
“The great thing is that we were able to bring in a really good crop for Ann,” said Kotouc. “For the weather we had this year, it was phenomenal. For all the bad it made something good – she has a good crop in the bin, and prices are good. That makes us all feel that much better.”
The better than expected yield will help Ann Schoonover as she moves forward, said Kotouc.
Those who helped the Schoonovers with the 2012 harvest include:
Former class mates Steve and Troy Van Beusen;
Marlyn Jorgensen, who along with combining provided a truck for grain hauling;
John Buhr; Alan and Terry Henkle; Mike and Jeff Knupp; Kurt Weaver; Pat Harrison; Lonny Flickinger; Gary Schadle; Jim Klopping; Jon Kaiser; Al Schafbuch; Greg Stein;
Brian Weber and Josh Volante of Pioneer; Jim Fleming; Maurice Gardner; Mike Kaufffman; Cody Johnson and Joe Kupal.
Together these volunteers did work with six combines, five auger carts, 10 semis and six tractors with grain wagons.
An important part of these projects is the meal for the volunteers. Paul Schellhase, Mike Merchant and Dean Ohrt contributed food for the workers.
Women who cooked and served the meal included Evelyn and Dawn Flickinger, Sheila Katouc, Bonnie Harrison and Cindy Pattee.
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