GUILFORD, NY – 2023 begins with hope renewed. This rural sentiment of hope just so happens to be led by firefighters, farmers, sawyers, masons, businesses, friends and families within local Amish church communities around central New York.

On the frigid morning of Dec. 13, 2022, an attempt to thaw frozen pipes led to a spark that destroyed a good share of a dairy facility on Delbert Yoder’s family farm in Chenango Co. This led to fire companies from surrounding townships leaping into action to douse the flames.

By day’s end, with the skeleton still smoldering, neighbor Katy Kemmeren was bringing over a milk pump and machines and fellow dairy farmer Ivan Barkman was on the scene helping to coordinate and construct temporary housing for the cows and, with help from the Guilford Church Community, to assemble a plan for a new barn and milking parlor.

Out of the ashes, hope renews

Work began quickly enough that the farm’s cows only had to spend two nights outside. Photo by Troy Bishopp

Legions of men, women and children went to work on sawmills, skid steers, ladders, telephones and transportation logistics to rebuild the Yoders’ barn in short order. “I can hardly believe the majesty of the effort and outpouring of help,” said Barkman. “It’s especially poignant this time of year to ‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.’ I’m happy to report the cows only had two nights outside under the stars.”

With the recent warming trend, Amish work crews from Columbia Center, Guilford, Canastota, Fort Plain, Richfield Springs and beyond are now finishing up the masonry work and final touches to the dairy facility. The Yoder family wishes to thank all who have helped in their hours of need. Hope is renewed.

by Troy Bishopp