'We are just farmers helping farmers'

Cary Ashby • Mar 27, 2019 at 2:00 AM

MONROEVILLE — A massive convoy hauling donated food, clothing, hay, animal feed and hygiene products has landed in Nebraska to assist flood victims.

The donations in the convoy, which includes six tractor-trailers and 11 trucks and trailers, are thanks to farmers, businesses and church leaders from the Norwalk, Monroeville, Ashland and Mansfield areas.

Kayla Worcester, of Monroeville, said the slogan on the side of one semi hauling corn tells the story — farmers helping farmers.

“We are just farmers helping farmers,” added the Western Reserve High School graduate, who oversaw the donation of hygiene products. “We know if we were in a similar situtation, they would do the same for us.”

Torrential rain and melting snow have created flooding situations in Nebraska. This has caused farmers to lose animals, crops, feed and hay — devastating losses that will cost them tens of thousands of dollars.

Luke Worcester, a Monroeville farmer, decided to take action in order to provide Nebraska residents with some much-needed assistance. The Willard High School graduate helped coordinate area businesses, local churches and farmers to donate food, clothes, bales of hay and animal feed. Worcester specifically oversaw the hay donations.

“I know they are excited,” said Kayla Worcester, referring to the Nebraska farmers. “They are overwhelmed with the response they are getting.”

The convoy left New Haven about 6 a.m. Monday. The trucks planned to arrive in Verdigre, Neb. early the next afternoon.

Worcester said she and her husband have friends in Nebraska and when they heard about the flooding, Luke reached out to see what he could to help.

“We did something like this two years ago,” she added, noting that the whole motivation is about helping others.

Among the area businesses that have contributed to the cause are Stieber Brothers Inc., which is based out of Schaeffer Road in Norwalk. Commodity Blenders Inc. in West Salem donated bagged feed while Hord Limited in Bucyrus gave seed and bagged feed. 

“Stieber Brothers donated a whole semi of corn,” Worcester said.

The convoy traveled nearly 1,000 miles. Once in Nebraska, the convoy members planned to stay and help as many people as they can.

Luke Worcester’s parents, Dale and Liz, are part of the group. The Worcester families farm grain, corn, soybeans and wheat together in Monroeville.

Polk native Russ Meyer, who grew up on a dairy farm, said he and his family didn’t think twice about loading up their truck and joining the convoy.

“Everybody’s happy that we’re coming,” Meyer told WMFD-TV. “My dad once said that you don’t have to live next to somebody to be their neighbor. If the shoe was on the other foot, we know somebody would be there for us.”

Meyer said some farmers lost tons of feed or dozens of bushels of corn and it’s nearly impossible to feed some animals that have been trapped by the rising water. He plans to stay in Nebraska for a few days before coming home.

Meyer, who gave a heartfelt thanks to everyone in Ashland or Mansfield who donated to and supported the convoy, said he hopes they'll be back soon. However, in the meantime, other convoys from various states are delivering assistance to their “neighbors” in Nebraska.

EDITOR’S NOTE: WMFD-TV contributed to this story.

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