When a massive F5 tornado demolished Greensburg, Kan., on May 4, the town was left with huge piles of debris to clear away before rebuilding could begin. That's when John Deere and Murphy Tractor — a Deere construction equipment dealer with locations in nearby Wichita, Ulysses, Great Bend, Topeka and Dodge City, Kan., — decided to donate a 624J loader equipped with a grapple bucket and an 850J waste handler dozer.
"The devastation in Greensburg is just immense, and this equipment was sorely needed," said Tom Udland, president, Murphy Tractor in Wichita. "We're glad to be in a position to help our neighbors as they clean up and begin to rebuild their community."
The 624J currently is busy picking up splintered wood from houses and trees for transfer to the landfill, where it can be burned to make room for other debris. The 850J waste handler is moving large loads of debris into the burning pile. This equipment is a part of the fleet that has removed more than 5,000 loads of debris from the area, according to the May 16 newscast on local television station KAKE-TV Channel 10.
When the call came saying the equipment was desperately needed, the staff of Murphy Tractor wasted no time. The 850J was a part of the John Deere demonstration fleet in Omaha, Neb. Mark Savage, transportation technician at Murphy Tractor in Omaha, loaded the machine onto a truck Monday night, and by Tuesday afternoon it was at work in Greensburg. The 624J originally was stationed at Coal Valley near the John Deere headquarters in Moline, Ill. To get the machine to Greensburg as quickly as possible, Wes Rezac of Rezac Trucking was called in.
"Within 12 hours, Rezac brought it to our service department in Kansas City to install the grapple bucket while the truck waited, and within 24 hours, they had it to Greensburg," said Bill Buckles, vice president of sales, Murphy Tractor.
In addition to the 850J and 624J, Murphy Tractor provided a 655C crawler loader to neighboring Stafford County, which also suffered damage from the storm.
Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co. is one of John Deere's largest North American construction equipment dealer organizations. Headquartered in Wichita, Kan., it has 16 locations throughout the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
John Deere is a global provider of advanced products and services for agriculture and forestry, and a major provider of advanced products and services for construction, lawn and turf care, landscaping, and irrigation.