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Farmer closer to dream of returning to work

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'Farmers Rock' a success

By Linda Ireland

Dairy farmer Gary Rock said a fundraiser to assist him with medical bills was “a gift beyond belief.”
Rock, who lost his legs in a farming accident Aug. 26, requested the total amount raised not be published.
“I prefer it be told ‘word of mouth,’” he said.
Rock was in a field using a self-propelled chopper to cut corn stalks. The chopper, which uses a belt to pull the stalks into the cutter, jammed. He attempted to clear the jam with his foot, without shutting off the chopper. The mechanism amputated one leg, then the other.
He made a remarkable recovery and hopes to return to farming.
The proceeds from “Farmers Rock,” held Nov. 2 at Sportsman’s Lake, were earmarked to purchase prosthetic legs for him. He does not have medical insurance.
Rock’s daughter, Samantha Loyall, and her stepsister, Megan Dohn, spent a month planning the fundraiser. They collected items for the auction, handed out flyers, set up a Facebook account and website and had T-shirts made. They contacted concessions vendors and scheduled entertainment: Elvis and Meatloaf, Tennessee Bound and Mike Sietsema.
Dohn said the response was “wonderful.” No one turned her down. She isn’t sure on the number who attended but the beef producers prepared 500 hamburgers and they were “all gone.”
It was her first effort at fundraising.
Rock has been in contact with someone who may be able to get the prosthetic legs donated. If that happens, the Farmers Rock funds will be almost enough to pay his medical expenses.
“If not, we’ve got $180,000 to go,” he said. Depending on the model selected, his prosthetic legs will cost between $25,000 and $100,000 each.
The physical therapy to prepare him for his new legs is being donated, he said.
“I want to think if I continue to do my part – if I do what is expected of me – I’ll have the opportunity of walking again,” he said. “I’ll have to endure therapy to get to the point to use a set of legs.”
Rock said he continues to be “thankful and upbeat” about his situation.
“All around us there is always a need to support people and uplift those individuals. I’m living proof we never know if we’ll be in that group of people needing the same support we once gave ourselves.”
Rock has been visiting local churches and sharing his faith in God. He hopes his story will inspire others who have experienced trials.
God’s plan, he said, will bring peace and happiness “we will never dream of, if we’ll be patient and let it unfold.”