When South Dakota farmer Regan Homandberg headed home from a neighboring town on a January day in 2009, he figured he could make it home safely if he drove slowly. Although the road was a sheet of ice, his careful driving paid off—until the car began to skid and went spinning off the road. Homandberg was ejected from the car and broke his back, ribs, shoulder, and right knee.
After doctors installed two rods and 10 screws in his back, Homandberg faced a long recovery. The challenge became even greater when spring planting time arrived. While Homandberg didn’t know how he would get all the work done, volunteers from Farm Rescue came to his aid and helped plant his crop.
This is a story repeated in many different forms, and in different places, throughout the American heartland each year. North Dakota-based Farm Rescue, which helps family farmers bridge crises so they have an opportunity to continue viable operations, provides planting and harvesting assistance at no charge to farm families that have experienced a major illness, injury, or natural disaster.
It’s more than just a story to me, however, because Regan Homandberg is my uncle. I’ve had the chance to see the difference Farm Rescue makes in the lives of farm families first hand.
This is no small undertaking, as the organization seeks sponsors and recruits volunteers, then matches those volunteers to the many requests for assistance they receive each year. To me, it’s the perfect example of everything that is right about rural America—neighbors helping neighbors, at no charge, simply because it’s the right thing to do.
The non-profit organization, which has worked with farmers since 2006, is the dream of Bill Gross, a full-time pilot for UPS Airlines who grew up on a North Dakota farm.
“While I left the farm, my heart never left,” says Gross. “I always wanted to help farm families, and Farm Rescue has created a win-win for everyone.”
Farm Rescue relies on sponsors to fund their humanitarian efforts, and on an army of volunteers to operate the equipment—which is also loaned to the organization. Many of these volunteers are former farm kids who take time off from their regular jobs to help others—just like founder Gross, who takes off four weeks or more each year to help out in the field.
From Bill Byrne, our CEO, to our associates, VistaComm is a company of farm kids who have always maintained a strong interest in rural America. We also appreciate the dedicated farmers who form our clients’ customer base. That’s why VistaComm is proud to be a Gold Level sponsor of Farm Rescue. I would encourage you to consider joining us as a sponsor of this great organization.
Neighbors helping neighbors. It’s just what you do when you sink your roots in rural America.