Harvest Of Kindness

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On this Indiana farm, the crop is corn.

But it's a harvest of kindness.

"We've got a neighbor that's down a little bit right now," a man named Danny told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann. "He's going to come back. I know Darrin will be back."

Darrin is Darrin Hartman. Watching other farmers harvest his land.

Is it strange to see somebody else farming his fields?

"Very much so," he said.

A fourth-generation farmer, Hartman has stomach cancer. Surgery. Radiation. Chemo. It's left him too weak to farm.

Saving his life could have meant losing his crop - and his only paycheck for the year.

"We were just trying to focus on him getting out of pain," said his wife Monica.

"Day by day," Darrin said.

"And sometimes hour by hour," Monica said.

In a small town, everybody talks. And word travels fast. By the time Hartman came home after surgery, his farming community already had a plan for his crops.

More than 50 volunteers came to help/ Friends. Neighbors. Even complete strangers.

Danny Wesch would have felt hurt not to take part.

"I would have felt like I wasn't in the loop or something," he said.

Read more about the harvest at Couric & Co.
And remember, all these farmers left their own harvests. Every day they're in Hartman's fields, they not in their fields.

"Right," Darrin said.

"Exactly," Monica chimed in.

"It's a day lost," Darrin said.

Your tractor might pass theirs and you wave, but for them to just give us their time and their day using their equipment, it's just incredible.

Hartman owns 650 acres. Even healthy, he'd need six weeks to harvest them himself.

"My goodness, it's done," he said.

The volunteers worked every last acre, storing 9 million ears of corn in the area's mill. All in a day and a half.

And he never would have asked.

"Oh no, that's too embarrassing," he said. "And thank you just doesn't seem to be enough. But that's all we can give right now.

The Hartman's crop is in. But their community just grew a little bit taller.
  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.

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