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Neighbors helping a neighbor

Posted 5/20/09 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

McKenzie County residents are fortunate to live in an area where everybody looks out for each other and neighbors are there when you need them.
It doesn’t seem to matter which area of the county you live in, there are good people spread out all across McKenzie County. If you don’t believe that just ask Monte Pesek or Gary Skarda.
Pesek has been farming near Alexander since the early ’70s, and due to recent heart surgey he wasn’t able to get his fields seeded on his own. But that doesn’t mean he won’t have a crop this year.
Pesek’s cousins, Ray, Bernie and Eddie Mrachek and Ed Rettig pulled together and organized a ‘farming bee’ to get all the work done. They brought four trucks and six tractors with air seeders on them and got down to business taking care of Pesek’s  fields.
At the other end of the county, Gary Skarda of Keene was injured and unable to get his cattle branded or his fields seeded. But once again that didn’t stop the jobs from getting done.
“It was May 4 at 7:45 p.m. There is nothing like a life-changing event to put a date into your memory,” says Kathy Skarda, Gary’s wife. “Gary was out riding a new horse that he bought for me and when he put his foot in the stirrup it just went crazy.”
Gary was severely injured when the horse reared up throwing him into the saddle horn and then to the ground.
“He hit the saddle horn and broke his pelvis completely in two,” says Kathy. “Then when he hit the ground he broke his hip causing the leg to move away and basically hang on its own. He also received life threatening internal injuries, but he is recovering.”
Gary is still in Trinity Hospital in Minot and is not expected to make a complete recovery for eight months to a year, which makes farming and ranching pretty difficult.
“Gary is doing pretty good,” says Kathy. “He’s taking it one day at a time and we are hopeful that he won’t need any more surgeries.”
Even though Gary is unable to tend to his livestock, the job still needs to get done. So, in true McKenzie County fashion his friends and neighbors stepped in to help out where Gary can’t.
“Our neighbors, Eva and Jeff Hepper, planned the ‘branding bee’ but there has been so much more,” says Skarda. “Everyone in the community and beyond has gone above the call of duty with their support and help.”
Last week volunteers sorted, branded and loaded cattle for the Skardas, and previously family and friends came to their aid putting in a fence and planting fields.
“I had a neighbor call the other day and say I want to help, but there is nothing to do because someone is taking care of everything,” adds Kathy. “I told him to be patient, this is going to be a long road and I am sure there will be something for him to do down the road.”
The Pesek and the Skarda families are fortunate that during their time of misfortune they live in a county filled with wonderful people willing to put their own work aside to make sure their neighbors are being taken care of.