'I'm very humbled': Community bands together to help injured farmer

Mark Putney was injured in an ATV accident in late September, leaving him with a broken back and several broken ribs.


Dozens in a rural community in Iowa came together Sunday one final time to help a farmer injured from an accident harvest his crops.

Mark Putney wasn't sure when or how his fields would be harvested this year, due to an ATV accident that left him with a broken back and ribs on his left side. The accident happened in September. It was during the second week of October that many in the community started harvesting Putney's fields, arriving to his property with combines, grain wagons and semi-trucks.

"They have corn and beans to harvest today, but they stopped what they were doing to come help me try to catch up," Putney said on Sunday, as the group worked through his fields.

Many of them drove over 20 miles with their combines. Others waited until their semi-trucks were full so they could go unload the wagons filled with corn and soybeans. Another group delivered lunch for the team on Sunday. Putney says he knew each and every single person who helped out over the last few days.

"Some of them I've grown up with," said Putney. "Some have been family friends. Some have been people I've met along the way."

Father-son duo Del and Jeff Johnson are close friends of Putney who put out the call for help shortly after hearing about his injuries.

"People were just jumping at the opportunity to come and help Mark," recalled Jeff Johnson. "It wasn't a hard deal to get going."

To the people out harvesting over the last few days, Mark Putney is more than just a neighbor or fellow farmer; he's family.

"If something was happening to any of us today or next week, Mark would be the first one to join us," said Del Johnson.

Del Johnson says Putney does a lot in the community. It's why so many know him and wanted to come out and help.

"I'm very humbled," said Putney. "I'm usually on the other end of the spectrum than I am on the receiving end of it."

Putney and both Johnsons agreed: helping each other is just what they do in rural Warren County.

"Anytime anybody's in need--friend, family--I'm not the only one. There's a lot of people going to step up," said Jeff Johnson.

"I just don't know how to thank them enough," said Putney as he thought about everyone's hard work Sunday afternoon.