September 4, 2013

Farm Rescue aids in harvest

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

On a whim, David Hoffmann decided that he and his wife should get their hearts checked. He had heard about the calcium cardiac scoring test before, that it was simple and painless, but dismissed getting it done because harvest was around the corner.
For reasons that Hoffmann cannot say for sure, he stopped putting it off and made an appointment for his wife and himself on Monday, July 29 at Sanford Health in Bismarck.
That decision, according to Hoffmann, saved his life.
“My wife’s score came out at 0 and mine was 3,159,” states Hoffmann. “Anything above 400 is considered to be a real problem.”
Hoffmann was urged by the doctor to come in three days later, on Thursday, Aug. 1, for an angiogram to see what was going on with his heart.
“An angiogram is supposed to take an hour, and mine was done in a half hour, which also suggested that I had real problems with my heart,” states Hoffmann. “Then the doctor said he could get me in for bypass surgery the next morning.”
Hoffmann was floored.
Still thinking about his harvest and other things he needed to take care of,  and not completely sure how bad he really was, he asked the doctor if he could go home and do it next week.
“The doctor told me that if I went home he was not sure I would make it back,” states Hoffmann.
So, a week that started out on a whim, ended with Hoffmann in quadruple bypass surgery on Friday, Aug. 2.
“Everyone came to check in on me at the hospital,” stated Hoffmann. “My brothers, my girls, and my cousins all stopped in to see how I was doing.”
Hoffmann stayed in the hospital for five days, returning home on Wednesday, Aug. 7 with orders to take it easy with no driving, lifting or general strenuous activity for the next six to eight weeks.
Hoffmann states that his neighbors and family did not waste time helping him. Though he knew there was no way he could get his fields combined, his neighbors and family acted so quickly that he did not have time to wonder what he was going to do.
“One of the things that makes this community so great is the way they rally around people,” states Hoffmann. “Right when I got home from the hospital, people came and offered to help me with my combining.”
He states that his brothers, son-in-law and neighbors worked in his fields, but there was so much that needed to get done. And knowing that they all had their own fields to worry about, he knew he would need more help.
“Then my son-in-law suggested I try Farm Rescue,” states Hoffmann.
Farm Rescue was started in 2006 and provides planting and harvesting assistance to farm families that have experienced a major injury, illness or natural disaster. The mission of Farm Rescue is to help family farmers bridge crisis so they have an opportunity to continue viable operations.
“They are all volunteer,” states Hoffmann. “All I needed was a note from my doctor to apply. And once I was approved, the volunteers from Farm Rescue came right away and started working.”
According to Farm Rescue, if it were not for the organization’s volunteers, as well as Hoffmann’s friends, family and community, he would not have been able to get his combining done, and it would have been a total loss to him and his family.
“Every day someone offers to help me with my land. It’s amazing because it just takes the worry out of my mind about how I am going to get everything done,” states Hoffmann. “Absolutely, without the help of my family, my community, my friends and the volunteers at Farm Rescue, I would not have been able to get my combining done. There are no words to express how thankful I am to everyone who has helped me and my family.”
Farm Rescue is a 501c3 organization and it is completely free of charge for the families it helps. Since its inception in 2006, Farm Rescue has helped more than 230 families.