Riceton, Sask., community comes together to help grieving family finish harvest

After the passing of farmer Gordon Glaze, people from the community of Riceton came together to help family members harvest their remaining crop.

Farming community offers equipment and time to finish family's durum harvest

According to Ian Mosby, rather than subsidizing big farming with more than $6 billion every year, the federal and provincial governments should encourage more small, local farms. (Tory Gillis/CBC)

People are coming together to help a grieving family finish their harvest after a tragedy put things on hold.

Gordon Glaze, who was from Riceton, Sask. — a small community approximately 50 kilometres southeast of Regina — died in a car crash near his home Sept. 9. The farmer was around halfway through harvest before the crash.

Lee Moats, a childhood friend, said it was very touching to see community members and people with a connection to Glaze come together and offered to help the Glaze family harvest their remaining durum crop. 

"We have had an outpouring of support from people throughout this immediate community and beyond who want to contribute to helping the Glazes in some way,and of course, they're not done harvest." Moats said. "It's the kind of chore you'd rather never have to experience, but it's just absolutely the right thing to be able to help."

Moats stepped in to help make the arrangements when more than 25 volunteers, including neighbours, friends and relatives of Glaze, offered time and equipment to help finish the harvest. Six combines took to the field at once Friday. He said he's sure Glaze helped every volunteer in the past in similar ways.

The group planned to get all the wheat finished Friday and in the bin before it rains again.

Glaze's daughter Ellen Glaze said people came from all over to help.

"It's just incredible and I'm so proud of our community for pulling together, and the support that we've received as a family. 
Friends and family of Gordon Glaze pose for a picture before beginning harvest on the Glaze's remaining crops in Riceton, Sask. (Tory Gillis/CBC Sask)

Paying it forward

Moats was a lifelong friend of Glaze's, who roomed with him when they moved to Saskatoon for school. They also became firefighters together for their community after that. 

He says he has been on the receiving end of community help before, too, and Glaze was a key part of it. 

"I guess I have some firsthand experience," Moats said. "We lost one of our children 10 years ago and it happened to be at springtime."

Moats said when his family needed the help to get through seeding and planning a funeral, the community turned out and helped them, including Gordon Glaze. 

"Of course, we all are grateful to be able to provide a little bit of payback," Moats said. "Gordon was the kind of person who helped readily and without being asked, and for many of us he could be a hard guy to help in return."

Moats said the process of grieving, planning a funeral and finishing work that needs to be done is strenuous. He has been acting as the organizer so the Glaze family can be in peace during their grieving. 

"It's made it very easy to just visit with them and organize our help according to what their wishes are," Moats said. "I think you come to realize that people need to help you, and it's a bit of a relief when you have something hanging over your head like harvest, and someone comes along and solves that problem."


Members of the Glaze family, including Gordon's daughter, Ellen and aunt, Sharon Copeman said it was "humbling" that so many people turned up to help their family.

Several combines lined up to help finish harvesting the crops on the Glaze farm. (Submitted by Lee Moats)

There have so many people offering up support that help and combines have had to be declined. Moats estimates more than 25 people have offered their efforts and equipment.

The Glaze family prefer to have a more modest approach to the harvest rather than have a field full of combines, he added.

"It's very touching to see everyone, family and friends and so on, step up."

Sunny skies on Friday meant the crew got out early in the day to help take off the crop, and they were confident they'd finish Glaze's harvest the same day. They're planning to make sure the remaining flax crop is taken care of once it's ready, too. 

With files from Tory Gillis