SMITHFIELD — Nebraskans look out for one another.
This was on full display along Road 436 leading to the Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church. Lining the gravel was over a hundred pieces of farm equipment, all to commemorate a young boy who had loved farm life.
Rowan Randall Rabe, six, died at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha due to a brain aneurysm. He was the son of Riley and Maura Rabe. A celebration of life service took place at the church on Tuesday.
Rowan was described as, “one hundred percent,” farmer by Scott Ford, a family friend and one of the people who organized the massive turnout of equipment.
Ford said the young boy loved to be in the combine with his father and knew just as well as anyone how the farm operation worked. Ford said one of Rowan’s common sayings was, “What are we doing next Dad?”
Rowan was described has having a personality which could draw in anyone and he could always brighten the day when he was around, Ford said.
After learning the Rabe family wanted to have a few pieces of farm equipment around the Hope Lutheran Cemetery during the funeral, landowner Paul Bachmann coordinated with Ford to make sure Rowan, and his love of farming, was honored in an even larger way.
The call went out to area farmers and equipment dealers, asking them to bring what they had to line the road from the church to the highway before the funeral.
Residents answered, bringing over a hundred different types of farm implements, tractors, combines, sprayers, semis, scrappers, choppers. Bertrand Community School, where he was attending first grade, brought one of the school buses to help line the road.
Many of the implements were decorated with “RRR” banners, or posters. One sprayer was fully extended with Rowan’s first and last name attached to each arm.
Ford said it was a, “tremendous tribute,” and a show of love and support for the Rabe family. Ford said it is likely something Rowan would have loved.