There is no question that summer is in full swing as “Tractor Dave” Wolfsen continues his tractor ride through the Midwest, encountering thunderstorms, heat waves, and local fairs.
When The Banner caught up with Wolfsen late on Tuesday, July 12, storm clouds were swirling above his campsite just outside of Havana, Ill. The day prior—a non-travel day—the heat index reached 119 degrees F (48 C) in Rantoul, Ill.
“[Tuesday] we left at 6 a.m., in the cool of the morning, and arrived at the campground at 11 a.m.,” Wolfsen said. “Being early to arrive at the campground, we were able to find a spot in the shade.”
Last week Wolfsen spent part of four days at a tractor show in Penfield, Ill., encountering large and receptive crowds. Several people from West Michigan even made the trip to the event.
“We handed out close to 500 cards and talked with about 100 to 150 people who were seriously interested in what we are doing,” Wolfsen said.
In much the same spontaneous way he learned about the Historic Farm Days in Penfield, Wolfsen stumbled upon a fair in Chillicothe, Mo. He intended just to stop to see a friend, but the friend instead told him that he would have a spot at the fair waiting for him. Wolfsen planned to spend both Thursday and Friday there. Saturday and Sunday he planned to be in Fairfox, Mo., at Fairfax United Methodist Church.
Several additional events along the route have been scheduled within the past two weeks, but donations for his fund-raising trip remain flat, standing at $21,415 as of Tuesday.
“I think when we get up in the northwest part of Iowa and Minnesota and South Dakota, where the two causes are probably better represented, [donations] could pick back up,” Wolfsen said. “I don’t know if we’ll get to [my goal of] $200,000, but you never what’s going to happen.”
Wolfsen told the story of a couple he encountered on Tuesday at his campground. They asked what his tractor was for, which gave him the opportunity to share his story and information about his causes, the Foods Resource Bank and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s Disaster Response Services.
“They left indicating to me that they were going to check this thing right out,” Wolfsen said. “You never know what comes of those—some people are just looking for information, and others truly are looking for a place to put some money.”