Friends and neighbors picked soybeans at the Sellner Brothers Farm - corn is next in mid-November.

The community of Sleepy Eye was in shock when it was learned that a bad accident had occurred north of town on Aug. 21, taking the life of Joe Sellner and leaving his brother Philip badly injured. Philip and Joe, along with their brother Mike, farm north of Sleepy Eye—the Sellner Brothers farm.

The brothers are also locally famous as volunteers, primarily volunteers for St. Mary’s parish and the Knights of Columbus. If there is a KC project going on, the Sellners are either in charge or working at it. This writer is not sure if they volunteer around their farm work, or farm around their volunteer work.

Needless to say, with Philip hobbled and Joe gone, harvest looked to be a big undertaking for Philip and Mike this fall. That old saying, “what goes around, comes around,” played out in spades when the KCs decided to organize a harvest help crew for the Sellner Brothers Farm.

Soybeans were harvested on Oct. 19. Dean Ibberson, in charge of the farming volunteers, said they expect to pick corn in mid-November. “I think we are all set for help with that,” Ibberson said. “But we maybe could use more help with tillage.” (Call Ibberson at 507-220-5563 to offer help.)

The accident occurred on the afternoon of Aug. 21. Remember that date? It was the day of the solar eclipse. Philip and Joe were on their way to Pat Krzmarzick’s farm to pick sweet corn for that evening’s KC Corn Feed (volunteering again.)

“It was dark and raining hard,” said Philip. “We came around the curve and I saw this box truck coming at us. I started to say ‘this doesn’t look good’ and it was all over.” The single axle box truck apparently entered the opposite shoulder and when brought back to the roadway came across the center line.

Philip’s injuries included a broken bone in his left wrist, broken bones on the top of his right foot, a knee injury, and wounds in his mouth. “I guess I bit my tongue and inside of my mouth,” he said. He was transported to North Memorial Medical Center, had some surgeries and came home to the Sleepy Eye Care Center for rehab for a time. He is home now.

“I’ve been following the doctors orders,” said Philip, who gets around at a fast clip with a walker. “I did get in the combine for a few hours the other day,” he admitted when he stopped at the Herald-Dispatch office last week. “It is just a matter of time now . . . I’m healing.”

The professional volunteer was a little uncomfortable accepting all the help on the farm, but, “This is about Joe,” he said. “The farm is Joe and me and Mike. This is for Joe.”

The Knights of Columbus members who organized the harvest help, Brian Braun and Dean Ibberson, wanted to give credit to others who helped make the day a success. Lunch and refreshments were donated by Schutz Family Foods, the KCs, American Legion and Mark Marti; many neighbors and friends brought combines, grain carts, trucks and helping hands to the Sellner’s fields.

Brian Braun said the KCs have also set up accounts at all three Sleepy Eye financial institutions to accept donations if people would like to help with all the expenses the Sellners have incurred this year.