Father and son seek used tractors for a purpose
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — “We are looking for large tractors just sitting around needing some attention, lawn tractors or model tractors,” explained Mike Collins. “They will be repaired and then sold or raffled off. The funds raised by the raffles and from the sales will then go into a fund, which will be used to purchase much needed items for people with disabilities.”
Collins, along with his son Brenden, would like to help people with autism and other disabilities in central Wisconsin. The money raised will go to community centers that help support people with disabilities as well as schools that do not have the funding to purchase specialized equipment.
“My son and I have been thinking of this idea for a long time now,” said Mike. “With all the hate and terrible acts towards people with autism and other disabilities, we said, ‘Enough is enough.’
“We have been waiting for someone else to start up an autism program like this. After we heard about an attack on a facility for the handicapped in Sagamihara, Japan, on July 25, our hearts broke, and we decided to get started ourselves.
“We began talking to friends and family about buying a tractor and painting it ‘autism blue’ and using it as a symbol for the cause. A community member saw an ad in a newspaper and contacted me about it. A few days later we went and saw the Farmall B tractor.”
After telling the owner Frank Klimek of his intention, Klimek got up and walked away.
“(He returned) a few minutes later with a piece of paper,” recalled Mike. “What was written on that piece of paper left us in total shock. It said that he was giving us the tractor for free. I tried to offer Frank some money, and he stated that it’s going to a good cause.”
The tractor will be fully restored by the Bill Rueth family and friends as well as past and present Loyal FFA members. “We hope to have the project completed by spring,” explained Mike. “The tractor will then be used in parades, tractor shows, and rides to let people know about the cause.”
To support the effort through a monetary or tractor donation, reach out to Mike or Brenden Collins by mail at Tractors for Autism, P.O. Box 57, Loyal, WI 54446 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.