It was late on Sunday afternoon and foggy on Fredonia Mountain, this on Feb.
11 just past, when the methodic clomp of the horse's hooves were overwhelmed by a screaming ATV four-wheeler, this near Cola-Cola Road. The ATV, reportedly driven by a 14-year-old girl, slammed headlong into the back of the Amish buggy and the peaceful reverie of Raymond Beiler’s family was suddenly topsy-turvy and simple no longer.
Spooked, the horse bolted some 100 yards, with Raymond, 38, fighting the reins and trying to get off the highway. Suddenly the black buggy flipped down the hill on the side of the road. Raymond’s wife broke her shoulder and the oldest of four children, 12-year-old John Andrew, suffered a lacerated spleen. The second child had only bruises but one of the six-year-old twins – both girls -- had a broken arm and the other a concussion and cuts requiring sutures. Their teacher, also riding along, was banged up but had no serious injuries.
As many know, the Amish don’t have cars nor take part in many of the material things of the world. They try to avoid so much of what they see in the rest of us but never criticize. They are a peace-loving people, kind and generous, and they would never ask “an English,” as they call us, for as much as a penny.
That’s my job, my privilege today. Because of Fredonia Mountain’s Dean Carter and Bob Main (yes, the same guy who made Siskin Rehabilitation Hospital into “the best” that it is today,) we can embrace this opportunity of doing something you see in Amish movies. One of my all-time favorites is the Harrison Ford thriller, “Witness,” the 1985 award-winner that endeared us to these gentle people. But more on that in a minute.
WTVC News reporter Alana LaFlore went to Fredonia Mountain, which is located on the other side of Dunlap, the day after the heart-breaking accident and learned about five years ago the ruling Amish body purchased about 5,000 acres from Bowater. The church enables Amish families to start new communities at different places in the United States and Raymond and Suzie Beiler are well-liked and respected.
“They are loving, they are caring and they are compassionate. They’ve become a wonderful addition to our community,” said Dean Carter, who after a career in the Air Force and life as a firefighter/EMT in Orlando, retired in a beautiful home on the mountain.
Carter said Susie Beiler is among the greatest bakers in the free world (“Try the cinnamon-raisin bread,” interjected Main.” Carter said the local farmer’s market sells out of her strawberries almost immediately and Raymond’s carpendry skills are “incredible,” said Carter.
“But these people have no cash per se and the medical bills certainly aren’t in their budget. So Dean, the “English” who delights taking Raymond on errands when necessary, has started a page on GoFundMe in hopes “people who help people” will help “get the buggy out of the ditch.”
He says, “The buggy was pretty damaged but the horse came through this okay. What the Amish do is trade and barter with food, wood-working and the like. They have very little need for money because they are self-sufficient and with their active lifestyles, they never seem to get sick. The children are schooled in the community and they are private. You can’t help but respect the way they live.”
And it’s not just Dean who has hustled to help. News reporter LaFore talked to Margie Wheeler who said in typical Tennessee fashion, that the minute she got the sad news that Sunday night she immediately turned on her stove and over.
"I feel compelled as their neighbor and as a Christian to reach out and do whatever they need," Margie told WTVC, explaining she knows them quite well from the market they have together, and buys the baked goods they prepare. "I brought them food because I heard the mom had hurt herself," she added.
A few miles north of Dunlap, a Mennonite community now has several hundred who have moved into the area in less than 10 years when their ruling body bought about 3,000 acres. “These are wonderful people. They may keep to themselves for the most part but our area is blessed to have them.”
The easiest way to help is through the GoFundMe and you can do that if you CLICK HERE.
Now, let’s click some more. As I said, the movie “Witness” is one of my all-time favorites. Harrison Ford plays a Philadelphia cop and, after a small Amish boy witnesses a murder and makes the ID (Danny Glover) the “dirty cops” try to kill the “good cop.” One thing leads to another, doesn’t it always? “John Book” (Ford) gets shot and hides out to heal on a Pennsylvania Amish farm.
The barn scene -- a true-to-life longtime Amish custom where everybody comes to help -- is easily one of the most awe-inspiring scenes ever as they build the thing in just one day. You see a bunch of goodness in the entire movie and that’s one reason I just donated to help some good people. I hope you will too.
Bless you if you do, or if you can’t right now, the Amish will bless you just as well.
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THREE GREAT SCENES FROM MOVIE “WITNESS”
* -- THE BARN-RAISING SCENE FROM THE MOVIE
“Witness” has been described as one of the most rousing movie triumphs ever. All the Amish community comes together to build a neighbor’s barn – all in one day
. (This actually happens today!) Harrison Ford, a Philadelphia detective in the movie, is badly wounded and the Amish save his life. You’ll see him swap goo-goo eyes with actress Kelly McGillis while actor Viggo Mortensen is very jealous. The best part of this wonderful standalone piece is the music composed by Maurice Jarre, which won a coveted BAFTA award so turn up your speakers. CLICK HERE.
* -- JOHN BOOK DOES IT “MY WAY”
– The Amish do not believe in conflict or physical violence and many are except from military service due to their religious beliefs. In this scene Harrison Ford proves he’s not Amish, and destroys some punks, although at the end Mortensen quips, “He’s my cousin from Chicago.” CLICK HERE
* -- THE NEIGHBORS COME RUNNING – In the closing scene, it appears for all the world that the villain, Schaeffer (Josef Summer) will kill Harrison Ford but suddenly the tables are turned when the child (Lukas Haas) rings the emergency bell and Amish men – as they really do -- respond from everywhere. Because the scene contains graphic profanity, there is no ‘click here’ prompt but turn your sound off and you can still see what happens, if go to You Tube and in the search line type: Witness (1/9) Movie CLIP - It's Over (1985) HD