Farm community rallies to help family

August 11, 2000

Farm community rallies to help family


Bobby Stiles was stunned when his swine sold for $4,560 at the Ag Expo livestock auction Friday night. He was speechless when the buyers donated the hog back to him.

The 17-year-old Boonsboro resident's pig, Dodge, sold for $16 per pound - $13 per pound more than the top hog thus far in the auction.

"That's an unbelievable amount," Stiles said, as the auction crowd erupted in applause.

His other swine sold for $438, or $1.50 a pound. The veteran 4-H member said earlier Friday he hoped to fetch about $300 for each of his two hogs to help pay for college.

But Stiles had decided this week to delay his college entry by a semester to take care of his family's Boonsboro farm, he said.


"My dad's got cancer," he said. "He's been having a real hard time this week."

Washington County's tight-knit agricultural community rallied at the Ag Expo over the last several days to up the bid on Stiles' pig in a quiet effort to help support the Stiles family during Tracy Stiles' battle with cancer.

"Everybody knows the Stileses - and Bobby," said Karen Beckley, a friend of the family.

"If something ever happened to one of us, they'd do the same thing to help our kids."

The turnout to support the family was overwhelming, Beckley said.

"Everyone that shows any animal (at the Ag Expo) has come up and given me money," she said.

Other 4-H members helped clean and show Stiles' livestock for him while he went to the hospital with his family, said Jeff Semler, a University of Maryland Cooperative Extension agent who grew up with Tracy Stiles' wife, Janet, in 4-H.

The show schedule was even adjusted one day to allow Bobby Stiles time to return to the Expo grounds.

"Janet and Tracy are just good people and their kids are good kids," Semler said.

Sitting in a minivan surrounded by his friends and family, Tracy Stiles said he was uncomfortable about the attention focused on him.

"They didn't have to do that," he said.

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