Thursday, October 29, 2009

Volunteers Show Farmer True Texan Spirit

Texas has deep roots - not only because of it's long history of family land heritage, but because of the kindness Texans have always shown to their neighbors. This story below truly exhibits the unbreakable spirit that lives within each Texan. It's great to see this spirit alive and well today.

Volunteers swarm to help farmer
By Matthew Mcgowan
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal , October 29, 2009

The timing couldn't have been worse.

With only a month to go before this year's harvest, Wilson cotton farmer Curtis Gicklhorn finally underwent surgery in September to remove a sore on his left foot that had been ailing him for years.

The procedure left Gicklhorn with several large rods running into and through his foot and shin. Doctors told him to stay off his feet until after the harvest in early November.

Gicklhorn began to panic. But word of the farmer's hard times spread to 54 friends and neighbors who descended this week on his farm 20 miles south of Lubbock, just in the nick of time.

"I nearly went to tears," he said Wednesday afternoon as he watched the volunteers in harvest equipment finish their third and final day.

"I was really impressed," Gicklhorn said. "Everybody just got together to come help. It looked like the cavalry was coming."

The 54 volunteers - "a good Christian group," Gicklhorn said - ranged in age from 19 to 80 years and came from all across the county.

Some supplied equipment. Others donated their time.

The community strip, as it is called, is not altogether uncommon in farming communities when one of their own falls ill or otherwise cannot complete a year's harvest, he said, but he has not heard of one involving so many volunteers.

"I cried like a baby," Gicklhorn's mother Pearl Gicklhorn said with tears in her eyes. "It's the way it always has been and it's the way it always will be."

Curtis Wilke, another Wilson resident, recalled a similar situation about 21 years ago when he was in Gicklhorn's position after a triple bypass heart surgery.

He said 33 people showed up on his doorstep and helped him through that year's harvest.

Participating in Gicklhorn's community strip, Wilke said, was just his way of paying it forward.

"It's just a good neighbor community," he said. "We help when we can."

The unusually large number of helpers this year compressed two weeks of harvesting into only three days, Curtis Gicklhorn said.

A local gin operator even pitched in and offered to process Gicklhorn's crops first.

"He just had bad luck, and it's a community deal," said Buzz Cooper of Texas Star Co-op Gin. "We just wanted to get his done and get his money in his pocket first. It's a good community and we're happy to be a part of it."

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