Harvesting for Mary: More than 'Iowa nice' - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Harvesting for Mary: More than 'Iowa nice'

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(KWWL) -

A community in Sumner bands together to harvest a neighbor's fall harvest giving a whole new meaning to 'Iowa nice.'

Mary Mattke was diagnosed with stage four Glioblastoma, also known as brain cancer, in 2014. 

For the past two years, the Mattkes having been facing a tough time. Between surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, her husband Richard Mattke hasn't gotten a chance to work on the family farm.

When a neighbor, Kevin Bergman noticed his neighbors farm wasn't being worked on, he knew he had to do something for the Mattkes.

So he asked friends, neighbors, and anyone with a working muscle in their body to lend a hand.  

"It's amazing you know I got five combines, five grain cart operators, ten semis, two or three people at each dump, dumping grain, it was pretty cool," said Bergman. "Awesome to see it all come together."

In all-6 combines, 8 semis, 4 grain carts, and over 20 farmers came together to harvest nearly half of Mattke's 269 acres of fall harvest. 

All so that their neighbor, Richard Mattke, could tend to his wife. 

"Even when she's in the house, it's hard to leave her side," said Mattke. "You know, I fear something's going to happen to her."

"Taking care of mom, making sure she's getting to her appointments, making sure she's doing alright, plus taking care of our hogs and the crops," said Mary's daughter Ashley Mattke. "It's a lot."

And now Richard Mattke doesn't have to leave his wife's side anymore, because the work is being taken care of. 

Oh, many many tears," said Mattke. "A man as large as me does cry also. I'm very appreciative of all the help my friends and neighbors are giving me."

"Well, that's what Iowans do," said neighbor Danny Buls. "When you have a family with problems and issues like that, we gather together and help them out as much as we can."

 Despite everything, Mary Mattke, who has been staying in the family house, still has the biggest smile on her face.

The Mattkes say they're more than thankful for the outpour in community support. 

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