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Community rallies around fire-damaged historic barn in Bern Township

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 27 2013 04:11:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 27 2013 04:54:38 PM CDT

A few years ago, Bernie Ellis traded the boardroom for the fields of Bern Twp., Berks Co.

BERN TWP., Pa. -

A few years ago, Bernie Ellis traded the boardroom for the fields of Bern Twp., Berks Co.

"The goal was basically to earn enough money to pay for the farm," Ellis said.

He and his wife Kathleen's West View farm comes complete with pumpkins, produce and plenty of horsing around.

"We get a lot of kids that will come by, see the animals, horses and we would like to keep that," Ellis said.

But in August, a fire destroyed his 113-year-old barn, taking valuable equipment, feed, storage and two kittens and close to 30 chickens.

"Long-term, there is an effect because it strains what I can produce because I don't have the facility to lay my plants and other things I use it for," Bernie said.

The couple figures it will need at least $50,000 to cover what insurance doesn't. So, fellow farmer Lucine Mackow is hoping to produce relief. She organized a fundraiser, running until 8:30 p.m. Friday, at the Bern Reformed UCC grove in Bern Township.

"Not only raise money in the barn raising but also to promote awareness of the community, what it's like to be a local family farm," Mackow said.

It's a family farm that is now in need of a few helping hands.