Farm Rescue, about 70 volunteers help with harvest for Cresbard cancer patient

Kevin Holt with some of his grandchildren Tuesday afternoon near Cresbard. The grandchildren are, from left, Brynn Hill, Samuel Hill, Nani Holt, Kason Hill and Hudson Holt. All of the kids were wearing shirts supporting their grandfather, who is battling cancer. American News Photo by Elizabeth Varin

By Elizabeth Varin [email protected]

CRESBARD — A community worked together Tuesday to help a friend in need.

Cresbard-area farmer Kevin Holt was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in July. He’s fighting it with trips to the doctor and chemotherapy.

Cue dozens from the Cresbard community and the Farm Rescue organization.

To harvest Holt’s more than 1,300 acres of soybeans, 16 combines operated by Farm Rescue and local farmers headed out to the fields.

Farm Rescue is a nonprofit group that plants and harvests crops for farmers who have serious injuries or illnesses or have endured natural disasters. Tuesday afternoon, the group had a lot of assistance.

“You come help neighbors out. That’s what small communities are for,” said Monte Kretschmar of Cresbard. “You lend a helping hand.”

Kretschmar helped organize about 70 volunteers with jobs like harvesting, making lunch for those working, donating equipment and more.

“We tried to include as many people as we could,” he said. “Instead of a couple people bringing everything, we kind of split it up to get as many people involved as we could.”

A friend submitted Holt’s name to Farm Rescue, which kept in contact with the family to determine when would be the best time to clear his fields.

Farm Rescue volunteer Alan Enger said he was surprised with how many people from the Cresbard area pitched in.

“It’s just a community effort,” he said. “When I was at that (planning) meeting the other night, the guys just kept coming and coming. I was overwhelmed myself.”

The large number of volunteers was a surprise to the Holt family. What would normally take a week to 10 days was to be done by day’s end, said Pam Holt, Kevin Holt’s wife. It was humbling to see so many people willing to take time out of their harvest schedule to help, she said.

“It’s taken quite a load off, worrying how to get this done,” said Kevin Holt, who is in good spirits about his cancer.

“There’s always someone who has it worse,” he said. “Sometimes I think attitude is as important as treatment.”

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