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NW Kansas community rallies behind brothers impacted by COVID at harvest time

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:43 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:53 PM CDT
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THOMAS COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) - Wednesday was just another day of work for combine operator Kyle Ackerman. But a few weeks ago, he felt called to help some local farmers in need.

Two brothers who farm from the town of Brewster, Leon and Robert Schroeder, contracted COVID-19 just as this year’s corn harvest was set to begin. They were too sick to work, so the community of Brewster decided to help out.

“If you need help, there is always somebody to look to that can help you out,” said Ackerman. “You don’t even have to ask.”

Kyle said community members helped harvest 400 acres in only six to seven hours. His cousin Seth also stepped up to help. He said the turnout was strong.

“Twenty-five to 30 people, a couple of grain elevators chipped in with semis, just a ton of local farmers with their equipment and they all said, ‘We will be there,” said Seth.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck a few days after the harvest. Leon Schroeder died from COVID-19 complications at the age of 53. It’s been tough for the Brewster community.

“It was kind of just like a kick to the stomach, at least it was for me. Like, I just didn’t expect it,” said Seth.

Kyle said the news hit him “like a ton of bricks.” He said he understands that if he was in Leon and Robert’s shoes, he would appreciate the help.

“Knowing that the community was there to stand behind me and have my back. I mean, this is a farmer’s livelihood. It’s gotta get in so they can get paid,” said Kyle.

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