Rodney Rebel grew up near Richardton, ND. After graduating from Hebron in 1984, he knew he wanted to stay. As a farmer, he was busy day in and day out year after year; but in 1993, after pouring cement all weekend to build a pig barn, his teeth started bleeding. Rebel headed to the doctor. Two days later, he was diagnosed with leukemia.
While battling cancer, Rebel had the option of a bone marrow transplant or maintenance chemotherapy. He opted for the later. “I decided to go through maintenance chemo but because I kept getting so sick, it lasted two years. My wife at the time had been expecting my second child. They said when I went in, that if I wanted to see my daughter be born, I better go through the maintenance chemo because bone marrow can be hit or miss. As it so happens, I got fungal pneumonia in my lungs and I probably wouldn’t have made it if I wouldn’t have went through the maintenance chemo.” In and out of the University of Minnesota Hospital for months and months, Rebel, while out of state, relied on friends, family, and a bit of help from Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T) to help assist his farm operation back in Hebron.
Rebel mentions, “Dakota Community Bank has been here with me since the beginning. I had just bought some land in the spring of that year from my dad. They stood by me all the way through that scenario. It was over two years until I could get back farming again.” Though he lost some of his pigs while he was away fighting for his life, Rebel credits his neighbors to helping save his farm.
Then, in 2013, while driving his tractor on the way to feed cows, Rebel was hit by a semi truck. Remembering the story, Rebel assumes he was driving about 10 mph up a hill and guessed the semi truck would have been driving 55+ mph as it tried to pass and came in contact with his open cab tractor pulling a feeder wagon. “All I remember is a huge boom and I woke up laying in the ditch. The silage wagon was upside down on top of the tractor. I couldn’t move. I was buried in silage and my pelvis was broken. The police officers arrived on the scene they said there is no reason in the world I should be alive,” recalls Rebel. Farm Rescue came to assist with manpower and equipment. Though Rebel had to pay for the input costs, Farm Rescue paid for and completed all the spring seeding for Rebel’s crops that year while he was wheelchair bound.
Farm Rescue is a nonprofit organization that provides planting, harvesting or haying assistance to farm and ranch families who have experienced a major illness, injury or natural disaster. Their mission is to help family farms and ranches bridge crises so they have an opportunity to continue viable operations.
DCB&T has a gold sponsorship with Farm Rescue. “We had a blizzard. We knew it was going to be a bad year. We lost a bunch of calves and stuff but the bank was always kind of there. They knew it was going to be a bad year but they were there helping me through that,” says Rebel. He continued by stating that DCB&T would come out to help with dinner and assisted with various other tasks as well while he healed from the accident.
Two years later, in 2015, there was a spring drought across North Dakota compounded by a miserable winter. With the south western part of the state heavily impacted, Farm Rescue came to assist Rebel’s farm for the second time. One of the biggest financial drains on a family is an unexpected medical injury and secondly, a natural disaster such as a drought. Rebel mentions how the drought was so bad that he sold off cows and was cutting his wheat down to have hay. Farm Rescue’s ‘Operation Hay Lift’ brought hay out to his farm which is located 11 miles south of Richardton, ND.
Rebel is forever thankful for all the people who helped him throughout his recovery, specifically noting his neighbors, Farm Rescue, and DCB&T. “Dakota Community Bank is dedicated to their customers. They care about the customers and their customers come first. They are there to help even when times are tough.” Together, all were able to give Rebel and his family a chance to continue their livelihood in Hebron.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director