Pat’s Last Harvest done Friday morning

GCNO photo

It took a cohort of 19 combines just 4-1/2 hours to harvest 540 acres of corn Friday morning, the work done as a tribute to Pat Fields, who was killed June 6 in a tragic accident while driving his tractor. The harvest bee was called by some “Pat’s Last Harvest.”

Most of the combines were driven by Paton area farmers. Neighbor Larry Fatka was one of the organizers. “It wasn’t that hard. All we had to do was pick a day and things started rolling in,” he said.

Fatka and Fields harvested together many years. “It felt like something I should do,” he said about organizing the bee. Fields’ brother John Fields helped with the planning. John, brother Bill Fields and sister Cari Schaffer were there Friday, as were their parents Jerry and Mary Jane Fields.

Friday morning was cool, with temperatures not much above freezing when the work began before 8 am. The invigorating air added to the sense of purpose as the drivers of combines and tractors with auger wagons scoured the fields while grain trucks lined up waiting to be filled.

The work was done before another group of volunteers helped Pat’s widow Michelle and daughters Kaitlin and Allison serve lunch at the Fields’ home place. The Greene County Cattlemen grilled ribeye steaks and burgers for 110 people. Fields was president of the Cattlemen at the time of his death.

Fatka said Friday night, “the hardest part was saying ‘good bye’ to Pat last summer. Today was easier. It was a good day. I feel like we’ve done all we could now that we got his crops in.”

Pat Fields had also planted 500 acres of seed beans last spring. Fatka said a crew of six combines spent a day harvesting the beans three weeks ago. He explained the crew was smaller because of the work involved in cleaning out a combine prior to harvesting seed.

Michelle Fields said Friday was “fantastic.” “It was something to see all the equipment. It was a tough day, but a good day.”

“It was overwhelming to see that much support. We have tremendously kind and generous neighbors. I don’t know how we could have gotten through this without them,” she said.
Community State Bank of Paton provided fuel for the equipment. The corn was taken to Landus Coop’s Paton location, and Landus employees were at the harvest bee.

In August the Cattlemen, Community State Bank, Dunlap Livestock Auction and friends organized a fundraiser to establish a scholarship fund in Fields’ name. That event raised more than $70,000.

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