A benefit will be held this weekend for a Manchester native who sustained serious injuries in a farming accident.
Dennis Wendling, 64, was working at his family grain farm near Manchester on Oct. 10. His son, Jeremy Wendling, had just left the farm, so Dennis was alone.
“We had rain moving in, and he went to shut the grain bin lid,” Jeremy said. “The wind toppled the lid, and it knocked him down. He slipped and fell probably about 30 feet.”
Jeremy said his father lay on the ground for about an hour and a half until Jeremy’s brother, Josh Wendling, found him.
“He didn’t have a phone,” Jeremy said. “He couldn’t move or yell or anything. No one knew he was out there.”
Dennis’ injuries consisted of a shattered left ankle, two shattered wrists, a fracture in his pelvic bone and a lot of bruising, Josh said.
“Luckily, there was no internal bleeding, which was very surprising,” he said. “There was no organ damage, which we’re also very thankful for, but it’s also surprising.”
Dennis spent about four weeks at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and underwent multiple surgeries, Josh said. Dennis also spent 10 days in rehab at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids before coming home around Thanksgiving.
Dennis’ hands now are functioning well, and he is getting some external pins removed from his ankle this week, Josh said. He also still is in a wheelchair.
“He has a couple more surgeries yet, as far as I was told, and those medical bills add up fast,” Josh said.
Josh and Jeremy have put together a fundraising benefit for their father to help with those medical costs.
Josh noted that Dennis won’t be able to drive semi-tractor trailers anymore, which was his main source of income during the off-season from farming, so the benefit will help with other living expenses, as well.
The benefit will be held from 3-9 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Delaware County Fairgrounds pavilion.
The event will include a live auction, silent auction, bake sale, 50/50 raffle and cash bar. Josh said organizers will be at the fairgrounds at 1 p.m. before the benefit if people would like to drop off auction items.
Jeremy said he thought the benefit would be a good idea since his father will “be laid up for a while.”
“They (Dennis and his wife, Katherine) are pretty stubborn,” Jeremy said. “They are always the first ones to jump in to help anybody, but they didn’t want the help. We said, ‘That’s tough.’”
Jeremy said the support ahead of the benefit has so far been great, as many people have already donated auction items.
“He’s a hardworking man,” Jeremy said of his dad. “He’ll be 65 next month, and he’s trucked and farmed his whole life. He had a little bit of a bad spill at a bad time.”