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Tragic loss inspires community to help Burlington Junction farmer

After the sudden passing of a mom of two, the small town of Burlington Junction is coming together to help her family on the farm.

Posted: Oct 20, 2019 11:50 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2019 10:42 AM

(BURLINGTON JUNCTION, Mo.) Nearly a month after the untimely passing of Brandy Gast, her family says they’re doing all they can to move forward after the tragedy.

"It's just been kinda hard here the last month since my wife passed away," Andy Gast, Brandy's widowed husband said.

A brief illness suddenly took the life of the EMT who was described as heavily involved in her community. Andy said it happened without warning.

"We didn’t have any idea or anything," Andy said. 

The community of Burlington Junction is sharing in the family's grief

"It was just a shock to everybody," Lee Larabee, a friend of the family said.  "Such a young vibrant lady."

Andy is a third-generation farmer, his family home is on a farm just to the south of the small town. Since his wife's passing, Andy said he's had to juggle being a farmer while also being a father to his children, but his community says it’s a task he won’t be doing alone.

Friends of the family heard about Andy's story and wanted to help, 

"We kind of got our heads together and come up with a plan that we could help him with his harvest." Curt Hagey, a friend of the family said. 

When friends spread the word, the response they said was overwhelming, many came from near and far to volunteer their time, equipment and labor to help Andy with his farm. 

"I didn’t imagine it was gonna be near as many people show up as what did," Andy said. 

Other farmers who volunteered said they put their own farm tasks on hold to help Andy take care of his harvest this year, together they harvested 1200 acres of soybeans in one day.

Friends said they wanted to give Andy a much needed and well-deserved break from farm tasks so he and his kids could heal from the tragic loss. 

"This effort will help him get to spend more time with the children," Jill Blackford, a friend of the family said. 

Those friends said their work gives them a sense of pride,

"It's what farmers do," Kelli Hagey said. "It's what small communities do,"

Thanks to the community's help Andy says half of his farm is already harvested for the year. 

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