Farmers plant wheat for ill colleague
While farmer Bob Konarik of rural Marion was in Newton receiving the first about 30 daily chemotherapy treatments for melanoma Monday, several of his neighbors and fellow farmers were planting 500 acres of wheat for him in northern Marion County.
“Why? That’s what neighbors do,” Jim Bernhardt said. “He was in trouble. He needed help. We’re here to help.”
Konarik learned about the skin cancer about two weeks ago, Bernhardt said. Bernhardt and his son, Kelly, Ed Vinduska, Gary Evans, and Mike Meisinger decided to help the best way they knew how — farming.
During the weekend, they prepared the ground for planting, and Monday they sowed the wheat. Bernhardt estimated planting wouldn’t take more than a day.
All of the assisting farmers know Konarik, because they are all native to the area.
“We’ve been lifelong friends and good neighbors,” Bernhardt said.
They all had things that were ready to be done on their own farms, but helping out was the neighborly thing to do, they decided.
“If the tables were turned, and it were one of us, he’d be helping,” Evans said of Konarik.