Celebrating a Day Care Provider (and John Deere tractors) in Gilbert
We kicked the week off with a stop at Pam’s day care in Gilbert. The kids were so excited for the delivery of the Little Farmer Toy Box, they all wore John Deere Tractor shirts, which was very fitting since the theme of the little farmer toy box was inspired by Henry’s great-grandfather—Laurence Hansen—who built his life on his love of farming, especially John Deere tractors.
“Laurence’s love of farming has been passed down to all of us, including Henry,” said Natalie Johnson, Henry’s mom and daughter of Jeff and Deb Hansen, founders of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation. “Laurence knew the land in Iowa was special and stepped up to provide an essential resource to the world—food. These Little Farmer Toy Boxes are a small but meaningful part of his legacy that we hope will inspire the next generation of farmers to pick up where he left off, a love of farming and the legacy generational family farmers.”
His beloved 1976 John Deere 4430 was a staple in his operation; his family lovingly called it the Cadillac of tractors in its time. In 2019, Henry’s grandfather, Jeff Hansen, restored it to its original state to celebrate Laurence’s 91st birthday. John Deere collector tractors like Laurence’s 1976 John Deere 4430 will be a part of every Little Farmer Toy Box.
As we unpacked toys, Pam shared how rewarding the last nearly 4 decades of her life have been taking care of all the little kiddos that have walked into her home. She was so appreciative to be nominated and selected to receive a Little Farmer Toy Box.
“It such a special feeling when someone you do not even know, chooses to give back to you,” said Pam. “We enjoyed all the farm toys and I take pride in being able to show the kids I care for where our food comes from and how important Iowa is in that process.”
Glenda, an employee of Iowa Select Farms, nominated Pam’s day care who helps watch her grandchild. Glenda’s daughter and husband are teachers and almost all the children within Pam’s care are also teachers, this just shows the importance of the essential services that are needed in rural communities to survive, and at so many levels, they really work together to keep rural communities alive.
“Teachers, day care providers, farmers and small businesses are what our community in Gilbert is made of, and you know you’re in Iowa when you see how all of them work together to ensure our little communities thrive so agriculture can exist,” said Glenda. “The agricultural inspired playtime and experience offered by Henry's Heroes Little Farmer Toy Box will help them grow to understand the community in which they are growing up. Many of the kids that are in Pam’s care have an agricultural connection through a parent or grandparent in the community. The kids will be able to use the toy box to learn more about how their community and family members make a living and contribute to agriculture in Iowa, which in turn, feeds the world.”