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Dave Linde used his phone Thursday to order a fuel delivery to a Farm Rescue tractor planting corn on his farm northwest of Madison. His wife, Carolyn, at right, a trained EMT, was the first to assist him after he shattered his ankle in an accident on a four-wheeler. Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny

A timely help for an untimely accident

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MADISON -- There are a lot of thoughts that can go through your mind while lying helpless on the ground with four broken ribs and the bones in your ankle shattered like broken glass.

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And, the grove on your farm is on fire and the wind is blowing toward your house.

Only one thought went through Dave Linde's mind.

He was worried about how he would get the spring field work done. "What am I going to do now?'' said Linde.

It's getting done, thanks to what Dave and his wife, Carolyn, call "overwhelming'' offers of help from neighbors, friends and an organization called Farm Rescue.

Volunteers with the Jamestown, N.D.-based Farm Rescue pulled in with a John Deere tractor and 24-row corn planter on Thursday. Along with help from two neighbors, they were able to plant about one-half of the Lindes' corn before the rain stopped them. They are waiting for the chance to finish the job before moving on to help the next farm, according to Jim Whitman, regional operations manager for Farm Rescue at the site.

Dave Linde has been farming in western Lac qui Parle County since 1976, and is known for always being one step ahead of the game. "He always has it done yesterday,'' said his mother, Lois Linde.

If this were a normal spring, her husband, Cliff, age 89, would have been breaking the ground on Thursday while Dave pulled the planter.

But normal ended on March 29. Five days earlier, Dave had burned some trash in a barrel. Apparently, ashes were still hot and were carried by the winds to the grove.

Dave just about had the fire contained, but realized he needed help from the fire department. He patted down his clothing and discovered that he didn't have his cell phone with him.

He hopped on his four-wheeler to race to the shop and a phone to call the fire department.

"I was going too fast,'' he said.

The machine went over, and Linde found himself on the ground with a shattered ankle and broken ribs. When he got his breath, he hollered for help. Carolyn, a trained emergency medical technician, heard him.

He told her to call the fire department and an ambulance. They both arrived in time to prevent things from getting worse.

Doctors in Watertown, S.D., have rebuilt Linde's ankle with a plate and about a dozen pins and screws. The ribs have to heal on their own.

Linde is confined to a wheelchair with a four- to six-week recovery period ahead.

Dave and Carolyn said all they can do now is express their appreciation for all of the help they've been receiving.

"I'd rather be the one giving than receiving,'' Dave Linde said.

Fortunately, there are plenty of others with that mindset too. Whitman said Farm Rescue never lacks for good help. Its volunteers pay their own way to help farmers who have suffered accidents, illness or natural disasters.

Using equipment provided by sponsors, they provide timely help where it's needed.

The Farm Rescue volunteers assisted a farmer near Clarkfield earlier in the week before reaching the Linde farm northwest of Madison. The nonprofit serves farmers in North and South Dakota, Montana, and parts of Minnesota and Iowa.

On the web

www.farmrescue.org

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Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335
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