Matt Farmer smiled. “It shows what people can get done when they work together.”
One of my lifelong heroes and friends, Matt Farmer, will be buried tomorrow in Dry Creek, Louisiana.
I have many stories about him.
This is my favorite.
Matt Farmer’s Barn
Hurricane Rita + two weeks
In the middle of our worship service Matt Farmer stands to speak.
If anyone ever had a good name it is Bro. Matt Farmer.
He is a “Farmer who is a farmer.”
He and his family run one of the few remaining dairies in Beauregard Parish.
Bro. Matt and his sweet wife, Mrs. Dee, are in declining health and their dairy is now run by their son Don.
Matt and Dee Farmer have worked hard their entire lives. No one is more loved in our community and church than this couple. They have a good name in more than just being “farmers.”
They have a good name of good works and being difference makers in many lives, including mine.
When Matt Farmer stands to speak, people always listen. He is the kind of wise deacon that can calm a church storm with wise words.
I’ve seen it happen numerous times.
As he stands today in church, he begins to tell a story. It is the wonderful story of a group of men who came to his farm a few days after Hurricane Rita.
Much of the worst wind damage from Rita occurred on the barns and outbuildings throughout our community and parish. The airport in DeRidder recorded winds of 110 mph.
That type of winds will take the top off of barns and hay storage buildings.
That is exactly what happened to the many barns at Farmer’s Dairy. Trees were down on buildings and fences while tin roofing was scattered for acres.
Bro. Matt told how a group of forty men, unannounced, descended on his farm. There were older men mixed with strong younger men and boys. They had come with one purpose: to clean up the Farmer dairy.
Matt Farmer knew some of them. They had known each other from a half century of farming together.
Others, he’d never seen.
He later found out that many were from out of state and had journeyed south to help with the cleanup and recovery.
In a matter of hours these hardworking men had cleaned up Farmer’s Dairy.
He said it was amazing to see how much they accomplished in these hours.
Bro. Matt closed with, “It showed what people can get done when they work together.”
All of those present had this thought in mind: Who were these men?
The men who came to Matt Farmer’s rescue were members of the Mennonite community who live south of DeRidder in the area we call Broadlands. The Mennonites are hard-working righteous-living citizens who are greatly respected.
And greatly loved . . . due to their good works year round in the area I love and call home . . . Beauregard Parish, Louisiana.
“Matt Famer’s Barn” is from our fourth book, Hearts across the Water.