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A call for help


Fri, Jan 6th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

At 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 15th Jacob and Sarah Byler looked out their window and saw flames consuming the roof of their farm machinery and furniture making shop. Immediately two of the oldest boys ran barefoot a quarter a mile to the neighbors to get help. Meanwhile the family used flashlights to locate and get their buggies out of the burning building.

Then they opened the shop door and thick smoke poured out. Immediately they shut the door and started filling water buckets to prevent the other buildings from burning. The Lanesboro Fire Department arrived in about 30 minutes and with the help of the Rushford Fire Department, the fuel tanks and all the other buildings were saved. Everything else was lost.

By the end of the day, with the help of many people, clean up was well under way and lists of new building materials were being prepared. Every day for the next week 16 to 25 people came, brought food and replaced the structure the Byler family lost.

They lost their hay loaders, mowers, thrashing machines, silo filler, fluid sprayer, plows, corn planter, grain binder, corn binder, cultivator, discs, Deutz diesel motor, grain drill, rakes, shovels and more. The fire consumed everything in their carpentry shop. This included table saws, drill press, band saws, jointers, all hand tools, hammers, screws, nails along with their desk that contained all their invoices and future orders. This fire quickly put two families out of business.

Although the season of giving is slowly slipping away, I’m hopeful people will look into their out buildings, check out their garages, shops or basement and find some of the supplies this family could put to good use. If you want to help you can call me at 507-467-2928. If you want to take something to the Byler farm they live about 15 minutes east of Lanesboro. Take Highway 21 out of Lanesboro (it joins up with Highway 12). Stop at the junction of Highway 23 and go straight ahead on Highway 12 for about 3 miles. When you see a small stone building on the left, the Byler farm is the next driveway on the right. Their address is Route 1, Box 62, Lanesboro, MN 55949.

One reason I’m writing this is because several of the Byler children helped me with a project. The day I picked them up, their mom, Sarah was making pumpkin pies.

“Real pumpkin,” I said.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Your eggs and milk,” I said, practically drooling.

Again, she nodded and said, “yes.”

Throughout that day I thought about how wonderful it was to see her tenderly pinch the piecrusts and put them into the wood heated oven. I flashed back on how my mom made real pumpkin pies. At the end of the day I took the children back and was just about to close the door of my car when one of the girls ran out of the house and said, “Wait!” Quickly she reappeared with a pie in her hand. She smiled and said, “You can bring the pie plate back when you have time.” I was overwhelmed at their generosity. And, that pie was delicious!

Another reason I’m writing this is that I understand how a fire feels. After I was grown my parents lost their home to fire and I remember the generosity of many people who reached out to help them.

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