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A century later, tractor again will help Ukraine

Staff writer

A restored 100-year-old tractor, just like ones sent a century ago to help starving Russian Mennonites, will help feed and clothe Ukrainians when it sells during the Kansas Mennonite Relief sale April 8 and 9.

The annual sale, held at the state fairgrounds in Hutchinson, raises money for assorted relief projects worldwide.

The 1922 Fordson tractor was donated by Hillsboro resident Ken Koslowsky.

“It had pretty good paint on it,” Koslowsky said of the tractor. “It’s not restored up to show quality. It is in good operating order.”

Koslowsky said he has owned the same tractor twice. He sold it years ago and it went through the hands of a number of owners before he purchased it again.

“It’s been running a few times since I’ve owned it,” he said. “That’s pretty much an identical model to what went over to Russia.”

The tractor is likely to sell about 1 p.m. April 9.

Goessel resident Jerry Toews said the Mennonite Central Committee started feeding starving Mennonites in Russia in 1920 after the Bolshevik Revolution. It expanded its work to helping in 55 countries around the world.

“We are still in Russia, currently helping feed and clothe Ukrainians today,” Toews said. “In 1922 MCC sent 50 Fordson tractors just like the one Ken is donating and 50 Oliver plows to Russia to give the Mennonites hope and the ability to start farming their land again after the Bolshevik War.”

Toews said 15 vehicles have been donated to sell April 9.

“There are restored antique cars and tractors as well as modern farm equipment including a Case-IH Magnum tractor, riding lawn mowers, and good used cars including a nearly new Ford van,” Toews said.

Besides vehicles, the sale will include more than 200 handmade quilts and ethnic German, Russian, and Swiss Mennonite foods.

More than 1,000 volunteers help with the sale each year, mostly working in two-hour shifts.

Anyone can volunteer at the sale by going to the information booth, where volunteers are told where help is needed.

Auctions include: general, quilt, children’s, silent, and surplus.

More than 1,000 plants and other items will start selling at 4 p.m. April 8.

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the show.

Last modified March 31, 2022

 

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