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Barthel benefit planned for March 21

A benefit for a man who lost a portion of his arm in a farm accident will be held March 21 in New York Mills.

Leo Barthel was involved in a farm accident southwest of New York Mills on Dec. 13, resulting in the loss of a portion of his right arm. Leo underwent multiple surgeries and was hospitalized for several weeks. Since returning home, Leo is undergoing therapy and continuing medical care.

The chili feed and silent auction benefit will be held March 21, 3-7 p.m. at the New York Mills school commons. Silent auction items will be available for bidding from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with bids awarded at 6:45 p.m.

Proceeds from the free-will offering and silent auction will be used to help defray costs of medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Leo has lived in the Bluffton/New York Mills area his entire life and is an active member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church. He has been married to Sandy for 38 years, is the father of two children and has five grandchildren.

Along with the meal and silent auction, there will be a Schwan's truckload sale. Purchases may be made the day of the event or by purchasing gift certificates.

Monetary donations can be sent to: Farmers & Merchants State Bank, 11 Walker Ave.; New York Mills, MN 56567; c/o Leo Barthel Benefit.

For more information on the benefit or to donate silent auction items contact: Leon Barthel at 218-640-0264; Randy or Rachel Roberts, 218-385-3362; St. Lawrence Catholic Church, 218-346-7729; or Lisa Werner, 218-346-5318.

With a winter blizzard heading this way Dec. 13, Leo went out to the field to get some work done before the season's first major snowfall. The late-season chore turned into a tragedy for the Rush Lake area farmer, when his right arm got caught in a corn picker and crushed his hand.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene mid-afternoon Dec. 13 to extricate Barthel's hand from the corn picker. A dozen New York Mills firefighters, and another dozen Perham firefighters and emergency service personnel, arrived to assist.

EMS crews used extrication equipment to free Leo's arm, but because of bad weather were unable to transport him to Fargo by air. Leo underwent surgery in Fargo to try and save the arm the two days immediately following the accident.

Jay Barthel, who lives next to his parents' place, went to check on Leo that afternoon and found his dad caught in the picker. Jay quickly went back to the farm and called 9-1-1. Emergency crews arrived on the scene a short time later.

The accident happened when a portion of Leo's clothes got caught in the mechanism, which pulled his hand into the picker.