A photographer named Matt Rubel came across something breathtaking in a small farming town in Illinois. When he saw countless tractors lined up alongside the road, he didn’t know what to think of it. It looked like a protest, but what was actually happening is incredible.
Matt told ModernFarmer.com what happened… it’ll be impossible not to tear up when you read this:
My mother’s family is from a small farming community near Champaign, Illinois. Though I grew up a Navy kid and lived all over the world, I always loved coming to the farm.
Recently, I went to back to Illinois to shoot engagement photos for my cousin.
The day before our shoot was to begin, I was with my uncle, who owns Meece Farms in Monticello. He and his employee were set to take two tractors to a partially harvested cornfield on the other side of town.
Naturally, I followed to take pictures. When they arrived at the field, there were, already, 40 other tractors and pieces of equipment staged in straight lines.
A local farmer, Jake Moore, was arranging a tribute for his best friend, Kyle Hendrix (31), who had recently passed away from cancer. Kyle left behind a pretty young wife, two young children, and an entire community who thought the world of him.
Jake’s original plan was to put 20 or so tractors along the road between the edge of Bement and the cemetery just outside of town.
What began as a simple row of tractors became much more.
The next morning I went with two other cousins to help line up what had now become over 60 pieces of farm equipment along the road.
The sheer mass of steel began attracting attention throughout the morning as dozens of farmers moved tractors, trucks, spreaders and combines neatly along the roadside.
In the middle of harvest time, to see such an outpouring of community support was staggering.
It was also telling to see every tractor, some of which may cost upwards of $400,000 was left with keys in the ignition. There was over $20 million dollars along that road and not one farmer spent a second worrying about where his tractor would be the next day.
I didn’t know Kyle Hendrix. However, I do know his fields are being harvested this fall by his friends and his family has hundreds of people who will support them in their time of crisis.
It seems to me that farming communities all over the country may still hold the key to what makes this country a shining beacon in a world of trouble.
If anyone would like to donate to the Kaleb and Khloe Hendrix Scholarship Fund for his children, they can do so by contacting: First State Bank of Monticello, 201 West Main Street, Monticello, Illinois, 61856, (217) 762-9431.
What do you think?