PAROWAN, UT – There was a memorial harvest in Parowan Wednesday as close to a dozen farmers worked together in remembrance of a friend who died earlier this year.
The swather trailers cut through the alfalfa hay on Lyle Barton’s farm, cutting a day long chore into 20 minutes. Organizer Mike Adams said it’s the community’s way of helping out a grieving family.
“This is something we could do to help them out,” Adams said. “Something that I think would be special for them, and kind of in memorial of Jeremy.”
Jeremy Barton is Lyle’s son. Jeremy died May 1 in an early morning accident on his drive to work. Utah Highway Patrol officials said Jeremy’s car burst into flames after crashing into another car on I-15 just north of Parowan.
“We don’t know the exact details, not sure we ever will,” Barton said. “As near as we can guess, the truck was going extremely slow or maybe even stalled in the land of traffic, you know it wasn’t lit up properly.”
Barton said his son would often help in the field on the weekends. That’s why neighbors chose the service project. Farmers put Jeremy’s initials on the swathers to show their honor.
“It seems like he always had a smile on his face,” Adams said. “I remember one time herding cows with him, up in the mountain, and it was pouring rain on us. I think the worse the weather got that day, the bigger his smile got, he was just that type of person.”
It was an emotional ride for all the farmers, with many of them postponing their own harvest to participate. Dozens of others gathered to watch. But it was most touching to the Bartons, who said it’s a touching tribute to the son they’re still grieving.
Jeremy was 25 when he died in the crash, he’d been married just 30 days.