An Innisfail-area farmer, who was injured in a hit-and-run after his truck was stolen, is gratified — but not surprised — that his neighbours rallied to bring his crops in.
“We have wonderful, wonderful neighbours,” said 77-year-old Dean Doll, his voice cracking with emotion on Tuesday.
”You cannot imagine the feeling of it…”
Doll had been working in the field on Sept. 18 when he noticed someone get out of a vehicle and steal his pickup truck, which had been parked on a rural road near Spruce View.
After running towards the truck, Doll stopped on the road. He said the fleeing driver ran the truck into him, even though there was enough room for the vehicle to pass, and he was thrown about 30-feet into a ditch.
His injuries are mostly gravel cuts and a swollen leg, said Doll, who realizes it could have been much worse.
During his two-weeks in hospital, more than 60 people came together with about 20 farm vehicles to harvest Doll’s 200 acres.
The farmer heard it took just five hours to finish the job, with more offers of help than were needed.
During the group combining effort on Sept. 27, Doll’s daughter Jodi Godkin had arranged an online video call so her dad could see from his bed in Foothills hospital in Calgary the many people who were helping in his fields.
Participating neighbours all wished Doll a speedy recovery, joked to lift his spirits, and sat down to share a festive harvest meal that had been prepared for them.
“I said ‘hello’ to pretty much every one of them,” recalled Doll. After a while, he became too choked up to talk, “it was such an joyous occasion that they came together,” he admitted.
This caring spirit didn’t surprise Doll. “The neighbours respond whenever there’s a need,” said the life-long resident of the Innisfail area. He remembers area farmers previously took turns calving his son-in-law’s cows when he had to have surgery during calving season.
The farmer is home now and making good strides towards recovery. Doll prefers to focus on the good that sprang from the incident, instead of the bad.
Godkin said her parents, Dean and Janet, have been getting so many concerned calls that she started a Facebook page to keep friends and neighbours up-dated on her dad’s condition. ‘He’s in good shape…We know that someone else might not have made it through…”
Meanwhile, RCMP are still investigating the vehicle theft and hit-and-run.