From the Chicago News Cooperative via the New York Times:
Even for a farmer as strong as Glenn Bolander, with hands as rough as sandpaper and a stance that reaches 6-foot-4, emotions get rubbed raw with heartache. His wife, Carol, is battling cancer.
But harvest season still comes to farm country, and the beans and corn must be picked, no matter what. For all its poetic lore, the harvest is an intensely demanding time. A season’s work is at stake. Attending to his wife and her illness this fall had put Mr. Bolander behind schedule.
Word about their circumstances spread from farmhouse to farmhouse, and among the people at the grain elevator. Nearly 100 volunteers joined a convoy of tractors, trucks and combines to help the Bolanders clear the crops on their farm north of Sycamore.
“When I found out they were coming,” said Mr. Bolander, 47, “I climbed up in the combine, and I just sat there and cried.”
He said it took 30 minutes before he could compose himself enough to call his wife and tell her about the help. Mrs. Bolander, 45, a real estate broker, was grateful, but expressed concerns about the volunteers. “They’ve got crops to take care of, too,” she said.