Neighbors bring combines to aid of Westhope family

WESTHOPE In a case of neighbor helping neighbor, combines converged Saturday on the ripe barley fields of a Westhope farmer killed in a traffic crash in June.

Friends of the late Robert Morrison worked from noon until a rain delay in mid-afternoon. They hoped to finish the approximate 225 acres today, weather permitting.

“He was a good neighbor,” Lance Romine of Minot said of Morrison. “He was always willing to help us out whenever.”

So returning the favor was a natural decision.

“It’s just something that when he passed away, we knew we were going to have to do,” Romine said.

Morrison, 49, died June 23 in a fatal crash on North Broadway in Minot. Law enforcement officials had reported that another driver performed a U-turn onto the street, causing a head-on collision.

Romine, along with Dwight Ommedal and Carter Tengesdal, both Maxbass, organized the threshing bee. Ommedal swathed the grain before the combines arrived.

There were five combines, two carts and four semi-trucks at work Saturday. Assisting the organizers were Peggy Thorenson of Bottineau, Kenny Tengesdal of Maxbass, and Brent Mott and Jim, Larry, Ronnie and Ian Wyman, all Westhope.

June Schultek of Westhope said she and her two sisters, who remain from Morrison’s family, were aware of Ommedal’s offer of help but were surprised when an entire crew showed up. None of the sisters farm so it was only with the help of the neighbors that they would have been able to bring in the crop, she said.

Romine said the turnout came as no surprise to him because of the kind of neighbor that Morrison had been.

“The neighbors around the area appreciated him,” he said.

He added that Morrison would be pleased with the threshing bee because one of his biggest thrills in life was harvesting. He also was a custom combiner.

“The more combines and grain carts and semis, the more fun he had,” Romine said.

The neighbors expect to be back later this fall when Morrison’s soybean crop is ready for harvest.