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John Neidhardt is one of the "good ones," according to Barry Schulz, chief of the New Salem Fire Department.

So, after Neidhardt was injured while fighting a fire earlier this month at a farm north of New Salem, his coworkers and community rallied together to host a benefit on Sunday for him.

On Nov. 4, the New Salem Fire Department was called to a grain bin fire. Schulz said a farmer lost a whole drying bin of sunflowers, worth about $20,000.

While putting out the fire, Neidhardt's foot became stuck in an auger and he lost a couple toes, according to Schulz.

Schulz said Neidhardt's been with the fire department for about two and a half years. He's a valued member of the all-volunteer fire department, very active in the community, hardworking and always willing to learn, Schulz said.

Neidhardt is a self-employed welder and farms with his father, according to Schulz. After his injury, he's been unable to work.

"He’s not going to be able to work for a while," Schulz said.

To help with Neidhardt's medical bills and living expenses, the fire department is hosting a sausage and pancake fundraiser. Schulz said the hope is to raise "whatever we can" for Neidhardt.

The benefit starts at 10 a.m. at the New Salem Fire Station, 110 N. Third St.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or


Education and Health Reporter