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A Small-Town Effort for a Fellow Farmer and Friend

In six hours, 11 combines, 21 semis, and 14 auger wagons harvested 400 acres of corn just outside Brimfield, Illinois, for Randy and Bev Kingdon.

Close neighbor and lifetime friend of the family Ralph Peters organized the fleet of farmers to harvest Kingdon’s crop after the outgoing 60-year-old farmer and trucker lost an eight-year battle to prostate cancer on September 15 – right before harvest season.

“Everyone volunteered to help,” says Peters. “The word starting getting around that I was organizing the effort. Volunteers got ahold of me, asked what they could bring, and we all harvested his crop together.”

The small town of Brimfield is home to just shy of 1,000 residents, but it’s a community with a sizable heart, always offering to lend a helping hand. Many businesses took part in the efforts, including local John Deere dealer Martin Sullivan, by providing equipment, food, and any other needs for the volunteers.

“It brought tears to your eyes to see so many volunteers and so much equipment,” says Peters. With all 11 combines ending the harvest in one field, Peters recalls it being “quite a sight to see.”

Bev Kingdon and Ralph Peters

Kingdon was an active member of his community, serving as the Brimfield Area Men’s Club past president. The organization holds fundraisers and gives all the money raised back to the community. Rita Kress, treasurer of Kress Corporation in Brimfield, donated $5,000 to the Brimfield Area Men’s Club to be used as a memorial for Kingdon in the town’s park.

A row-crop farmer and trucker for Kingdon Trucking, Peters describes Kingdon as always being neighborly. “He helped you out in whatever you needed, whenever you needed it,” says Peters. “I never heard a person say a bad word about him.” 

Peters had employed Kingdon as a teenager on his farm and has always been close with the Kingdon family. “Randy was very friendly and always knew how to have fun. He was one of those guys who knew everyone in the world,” remembers Peters.  

Peters says he feels lucky to live in a community that will work together in times of need, and when someone needs help, it’s there. “Makes you feel good to live in a community that will lend a helping hand when you have harvest to do,” he says.

The 60-plus volunteers-including those who prepared food and those who took part in the harvest-finished the day with supper at the Peters farm. 

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