Farmers honor friend killed in accident, by harvesting family's - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Farmers honor friend killed in accident, by harvesting family's crops

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MURPHYSBORO -- Benjamin Arbeiter spent years as an active member of the farming community in Jackson County until he passed away in August after getting trapped under an antique tractor. Wednesday, the community returned all the favors Arbeiter had done for them over the years.

"In his 40 years, he touched a multitude of lives," said Ben's father David Arbeiter.

With ten combines and around 20 men, friends and those touched by Ben honored his life and the passion they all shared by harvest the family farm's crops.

"There's people here are just eager to come and do this because they knew Ben," explained Arbeiter. "He was the kind of person that would go out of his way to help anybody."

David Arbeiter choked up when talking about all those that volunteered, taking time away from their own harvests.

"It was never a question that we weren't going to try to help him get his crop out," said Matt Bowlby, one of Ben's friends.

For hours, combines, hoppers, and semis worked in unison. Picking almost all the crop that would have taken the Arbeiter's a few months to harvest, in just one day.

"Well I wish we weren't having to do this," said Bowlby. "But it's a pleasure to be able to do it."

A favor David says shows what the farming community does when it loses one of its own.

"That proves to you what friends and neighbors are all about," explained Arbeiter.

Despite Ben's death, the Arbeiter Farm will remain in operation, just as it has for 117 years.

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