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Farm Rescue and friends help local wheat grower harvest crop

SPIRITWOOD, N.D. -- Russell Carlson couldn't see the combines rolling through his wheat field from his hospital bed in Bismarck. The distance was too great and his injuries too severe for him to see the neighbors and Farm Rescue harvest his crop....

SPIRITWOOD, N.D. -- Russell Carlson couldn't see the combines rolling through his wheat field from his hospital bed in Bismarck.

The distance was too great and his injuries too severe for him to see the neighbors and Farm Rescue harvest his crop.

"I'm kind of an outsider looking in," Carlson said. "But I'm obviously thankful they're getting the crop in. It's amazing the number of friends a guy has and the efforts of Farm Rescue are so important. You work so hard to get the crop in and then have to rely on others to get the harvest in."

Carlson was doing some repairs on a farm building using an older extension ladder on July 26. Lori said the braces that connect the segments of the ladder failed and the upper portion of the ladder began sliding down the lower segment. Russell's foot became hooked in the ladder throwing him over backwards off the ladder. The fall paralyzed him from his chest down.

"Don't keep an old ladder around the farm," Lori said. "It's not worth the risk."

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Family members say Carlson is continuing to undergo treatment.

"He just moved into the rehab program at St. A's (St. Alexius) in Bismarck," said Lori Carlson, sister-in-law to Russell. "He'll be in rehab for the next couple of months."

Farm Rescue provided two combines with crews for the harvest. Bill Krumwiede of Voltaire, N.D., and Pete and Dennis Haugen, a father-and-son team from Portland, N.D., handled the operator chores. Their efforts were supplemented by Darwin Roeske, Dianne Carlson, Kathy Blouin, Norman Johnson, Mark Gehlar and Ed Stroh, all of the Spiritwood area.

"Farm Rescue is proud to be part of this community effort," said Pam Musland, operations director for Farm Rescue. "Helping Russell get his crops in is important to him."

Farm Rescue provides planting and harvest assistance to farmers in need. The organization had worked small-grains harvests on three farms in South Dakota before making their first stop in North Dakota at the Carlson operation. The combines continue on to Kief, N.D., located in southern McHenry County, for its next stop during the grain harvest.

Farm Rescue will assist in soybean harvests on a number of farms latter in the year although the neighbors have committed to harvesting the soybean crop for Russell.

The assistance of neighbors and Farm Rescue gives Russell time to recover.

"I understand his intent is to keep farming," Musland said. "With his determination I'm sure it will happen."

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Russell agreed with the goal.

"Time will tell but the ultimate goal is to get back to farming," he said. "Another goal is to kick the doctor, but it's going to be a long road."

Farm Rescue is a non-profit organization founded by Bill Gross in 2005. The organization uses private and corporate donations to provide planting and harvest assistance to farm families impacted by illness or injury. The organization is headquartered in Jamestown, and has assisted more than 140 farm families in a four state area.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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