10 Country: Louette’s Saving Grace - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Louette’s Saving Grace

^Louette Odom ^Louette Odom
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May 27, 2003

Early County, GA-- Some critics say we have changed from a willingness to help people to a self-centered attitude.

Louette Odom can only look and touch his beloved farm equipment these days. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment sits idle. “That’s my life, that’s what it means,”says Louette.

He has 325 acres of cropland that need his attention. The wheat needs harvesting, but he can’t do it because of a serious medical condition.

“On the aorta, I have an aneurysm,” Louette says.

A scary diagnosis that came in early May. A self-described workaholic who could drop dead if he exerts himself too much. When his neighbors heard about Louette’s life-threatening condition, they did something drastic, throwing him off his own land.

“You need to go home, and we’ll take care of this,” said Bobby Rish. About 20 people volunteered to farm for a farmer who couldn’t. They had their own agri-businesses to run, but somehow they worked longer days to help Louette Odom when he couldn’t help himself.

“We make time. That’s the only way you can say it is: we make time,” says Preston Rish.

The time and skills they donate had a side affect. “I was able to do something for somebody. I kind of wallered out of my hole a little bit. I felt better,” says Tommy Davis.

You could say Louette Odom has a community insurance policy that pays off handsomely. “It’s better than any insurance policy you could ever buy. Friendship is better than all the money in the world,” said Joe Bush.

Helping people who need help started a long time ago in his Arlington, Georgia community, long before some of them were born.

“Who started it? Our forefathers.”said Ike Newberry. At least three generations ago with a requirement that gets passed down.

No records are kept. They keep a neighbor’s farm working, growing crops until Louette gets well and can look after them himself. “To know that you live in a group and a community of people like that makes you feel like you are almost close to heaven," says Louette.

If not heaven, he certainly lives in God’s country.

Louette Odom’s gets his aneurysm repaired Wednesday, and we’ll let you know how it turns out.

If the surgery is as successful, he could return to his farm in late June in time to harvest his corn. _________________________________________________________________

Note: Mr. Odom's surgery was successful, but it will take several weeks before he operates his equipment to work his own crops.  His surgery was  Wednesday, and all went well according to his wife, who appreciates the story very much. 

Mr. Odom heard from long lost cousins and old friends who were unaware of his situation. 

posted at 11:00AM by dave.miller@walb.com