Allen Bloemendaal, 57, is a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard. This is the first time in his 32-year Guard career that he has been mobilized. He and 15 other Iowa Guard soldiers are part of an embedded training team that is now at Camp Shelby, Miss., preparing to ship out for Afghanistan next month. He left his farm in mid-April.Though they don't mention it in the
That isn't the real core of the story though. If you come from a rural background, you know how critical April is and the terminal damage to your farm that can take place if you leave it for any length of time, especially for a year. This is where the good stuff comes into play and serves as a reminder of the positive things we find in America - still.
In addition to the 120 acres of crops that needed to be planted, there were hogs, cattle and goats that had to be fed and marketed. There were 240 trees that needed to be planted.That is a perfect example of how you don't have to be in uniform to serve your country. Bravo Zulu to the Bloemendaal neighbors and family; deployment is much easier when you know the home front is taken care of.
Every family left behind by military mobilizations these days needs attention, but public support is often focused on the soldiers, said Becky Coady of Urbandale, family programs assistant for the Iowa National Guard.
"We didn't know he was going to go until the last minute," Lynne Bloemendaal said. "It was planting time, and that was a major concern. I put an ad in the paper to rent the land out, and I got about 25 phone calls from people who were eager to rent the land. The more I thought about it, I wasn't real comfortable renting out the land."
The Bloemendaals had already purchased seed corn, sold soybeans for fall delivery and had corn committed to the Sioux Center ethanol plant. Crop insurance had already been arranged.
Lynne's brother, Kally Mouw , was eating lunch at the local Pizza Ranch soon after word spread that Allen was headed to Afghanistan. Joel Schuiteman, a neighbor who had farmed the Bloemendaals' land before Allen bought his own equipment, went over to Kally's table and volunteered to put in the Bloemendaals' corn and soybeans.
Lynne Bloemendaal then needed to find someone to care for the livestock. Enter Doug Taylor, another neighbor, who took over feeding the hogs and cattle. ... Taylor also has taken care of the 240 trees that Allen Bloemendaal ordered before his deployment.
Kally Mouw, an appraiser, describes his role as "kind of the fill-in for everybody else." He has stepped in to truck feeder pigs, and he feeds the Bloemendaals' livestock when Doug Taylor takes a break.