Dozens of farmers help Racine Co. family harvest its crops

RACINE CO. -- In rural parts of southeast Wisconsin, the concept of helping neighbors in need is a familiar one. That idea was put to work in grand fashion in Burlington on Thursday, October 11th.

Back on Friday, September 28th, a farming accident seriously injured Russell Weis and killed his brother, Clayton.

"Clayton was always a smiler and always a happy guy. Both of those guys are happy and Clayton would be smiling on us right now," Al Wilks said.

On Thursday, folks from some 50 farms came together with combines and other farm equipment to help harvest about 300 acres of Weis family farmland. 

While the outpouring of emotion is exceptional, this type of effort is not unfamiliar. That's because the farm family shares a strong fabric. When one needs help, others are at the ready.

"I've never been a part of one this big. It was heart-warming and I just can't believe that it happened," Wilks said.

The work, which typically took the brothers seven to 10 days or more was finished in about four hours on Thursday. Afterwards, a still-recovering Wilks showed his gratitude to those who lent a hand.

Some who showed up to help on Thursday say they kept their kids out of school to teach them an important lesson about this lifestyle.

"The lessons they would've learned in school pales in-comparison to what they'll see here, today," farmer Ken Uhlenhake said.

Thursday's harvesting effort utilized nine combines, a couple dozen trucks and other farm equipment. Afterwards, those who pitched in gathered to eat a meal prepared by family, friends and restauranteurs.