MN boy gives hug and 'milk money' to KS farmer

Harry Walker is a Kansas hay farmer who lost more than 5,000 bales and 25 miles of fencing in the March fires, and Jaci says Harry was still processing the loss when the Minnesota convoy arrived.

FOLEY, Minn. - It was a hug between farmers that spanned hundreds of miles and it's now been shared thousands of times online.

When 13-year-old Bryce Talberg heard about the wildfires in Kansas, he asked his parents if he could to take some time away from school and his milking duties at a nearby dairy farm in order to travel from his home in Foley, Minnesota to help deliver hay and other supplies to farmers and ranchers hit hardest.

"And then we met Harry, and the rest is history," said Jaci Talber, Bryce's mother.

Harry Walker is a Kansas hay farmer who lost more than 5,000 bales and 25 miles of fencing in the March fires, and Jaci says Harry was still processing the loss when the Minnesota convoy arrived. 

"He wouldn't hug anybody, and with (our) Minnesota love, we wanted to hug everybody," Jaci said. "And Bryce said, 'Mom, this is who I'm going to give my money to.'"

Bryce usually saves his paychecks from the dairy in order to buy parts for the tractor he restores, but he decided to give one of his checks to Harry last month.

"It was his milk money for the entire month. $265,” said Pattie Vixby, who organized the caravan. "I just bawled.”

When Bryce handed over the money, Harry ended his no hug policy, and a friend snapped a quick photo.

“I don’t know, how to really put it into words," Bryce said. "It was joyful. You could tell he was fighting back tears because he was thankful."

Jaci said it's a moment she'll never forget.

"Thirteen years of wondering if I did a good job and in that one instant I know that I've done what I needed to do," Jaci said with a smile.

That single photo was shared on Facebook and that's when the true impact of Bryce's gesture began to grow.

"Three point seven thousand likes and shares," Pattie said. "Just on the one page."

Bryce says he wasn't looking for attention.

"Honestly, I don't really need it," he said. "But after I thought about it, it's kind of nice because then it gets the word out there, that people should donate."

His mom said that's just who he is.

"He'd go a mile for anybody else," Jaci said.

In this case, it was more than 800 miles, and he plans to do it again.

"He wants me to come back and help him fence," Bryce said with a smile.

Bryce's generosity has inspired a "Hay for Harry" fundraiser in Foley, Minn. on Sunday, April 23. There will be a hamburger buffet and live auction at Henry's Catering from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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