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Harvest brings outpouring of support after farmer’s death

Posted at 3:59 PM, Jun 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-06 15:59:40-04

CHENEY, Kansas (KWCH/KSAS) - Harvest time is often the busiest time of year for farm families, so after a 76-year-old community leader and farmer died unexpectedly two weeks ago, the community rallied as a tribute to his years of public service.

Raymond Rosenhagen's friends gathered at  his family farm to honor him Tuesday, reported KWCH/KSAS' Pilar Pedraza

“Some of the neighbors in the area gave me a call.  Said,  ‘Hey, we're interested in helping Raymond cut his wheat.  What can we do?’” said Tim Rosenhagen, a family cousin and organizer of the harvest.

But it didn't take long for dozens of other folks to offer their help.

“One particular son of a farmer is running a combine -- and he took time off work to help his father -- and now he's out here helping my father through his father,” said Mark Rosenhagen, the deceased’s eldest son.  “It's just showing the good in neighbors.”

The community's plan was simple. Friends and neighbors arrived around 1 p.m. Tuesday and worked until sundown to harvest as much wheat as they could before quitting for the night.

“We got kind of a slow start, but we're starting to pick up steam now," said Tim Rosenhagen said.  "The wind's blowing and the sun's shining, that helps a bunch.  I think once we get everybody where they need to be things are gonna go really good.”

Rosenhagen's eldest son said the outpouring of support was humbling and much appreciated.

The community's generosity stands as a final testament to Rosenhagen's memory -- and the lifetime of service he provided to his community.  

In fact, Rosenhagen served on the Cheney School Board, the Garden Plain Co-op Board and in the U.S. Army, in addition to performing several other public services.

Family members said they still do not know how Rosenhagen died after a grandson discovered him in a machine shed on May 15. The family is uncertain if he suffered a farm-related accident -- or if he had a medical emergency while working on a harvest vehicle.