In some rural farming communities, the “all for one, one for all” attitude is still alive and well.
Last September, cotton farmer Greg Bishop of Floyd County, Texas learned that he has leukemia. He was immediately thrown into the world of chemotherapy and other harsh cancer treatments, and naturally he was feeling weak and fragile as he fights for his life. When it came time to harvest his 450 acres of cotton, he knew there was no way he’d be up for the hard work required to bring in the crops.
That’s when Greg’s fellow farmers stepped in to lend a helping hand.
After learning about Greg’s predicament, his friends and fellow farmers spread the word that one of their own needed help. One Monday in November, neighboring farmers converged on Greg’s farm with 20 cotton strippers and all of the other needed equipment to bring in the harvest. Not only that, but between 80 to 90 farmers showed up to lend their labor to the effort; so many people showed up that they had to start turning people away!
Greg’s friend and neighbor Robert Nixon explained that his decision to help out was a simple one, and one that he’s positive that anyone in his shoes would have made.
“Greg is just a very humble guy that is fun to be around, likes to laugh and have fun,” Robert said. “Like I said, he’s just a really well-respected member of our community. He’d do it for us, so that’s why we did it for him.”
If Greg had been working alone it would have taken him two to three weeks to harvest his fields, yet as with all things, many hands make light work. With all of the helpers working together, these farmers were able to get the job done in just one day.
“We started around 10 o’clock this morning and a little before 3 we were done. I mean we had that many people,” Robert explained. Working together, the farmers brought in around 1,200 bales of processed cotton that’s valued at about $420,000.
A local chemical company pitched in with lunch for the workers, and when they’d finished bringing in the cotton they did some other tasks around the farm to help Greg out as he fights his cancer. Farmers put tarps over bales and cleared out the tumbleweeds from the fields, and local businesses supplied fuel and service trucks.
“He’s got a rough row to hoe and he’s got a lot more worries down the road than just getting his crop in so we were all just real glad to do it,” said Greg’s longtime friend Dave Carthel as he fought back tears. “And I was glad to be a part of it.”
At the end of the day, it wasn’t just Greg who was blessed by this extraordinary act of kindness and generosity. Everyone involved was left humbled by the love they felt in the fields that day, and pleased to know that if hardships ever came into their own lives, their neighbors would have their backs.
Well done, farmers! Oftentimes we feel isolated in our own little worlds, but this is a great reminder that we’re all part of something much bigger than ourselves. Please share this story to spread the love just a little bit further.
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