Dec 14, 2021

Tornado trauma averted: Illinois landowner gets much needed grapple attachment just in time

By mid Saturday afternoon, this past weekend, we all heard of the tragic circumstances as multiple tornadoes made a deadly 200 mile journey stretching across Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and finally into Kentucky where the death toll had reached 74 as of Monday. Television footage showed in graphic detail the devastation and destruction of flattened buildings, twisted metal, overturned cars, with skid steer loaders busily hauling away debris using grapple attachments.

And if this record-setting tornado activity weren’t tragic enough, it just so happens that grapple attachments used in cleanup efforts like this, might be in short supply due to supply chain issues. This was a distinct possibility for one landowner in east central Illinois with over 30 trees down, and a gigantic mess to clean up.

“I was in a bind,” said Fred Hartbank, when his local tractor dealership told him he could get a grapple attachment for his Kubota L 3540 tractor in ‘6-8 weeks.’ A retired lineman, the 64-year-old Hartbank is the proud owner of 3.5 tree-lined acres near Mattoon, IL and is not accustomed to paying contractors to tend to his land. He simply wanted to get to work, and needed a grapple, pronto.

Fortunately Lano Equipment had two such grapples in stock when Hartbank hit the chat button on the Lano website Monday morning. “I’m not really an internet guy,” Harbank admits, “and I really had no idea how I was going to find one after my local dealer told me 6-8 weeks. But thank God, Lano had one.”

Long story short, Lano Equipment hustled and got the LandPride SGC0660 Tractor Grapple Claw Attachment ready to ship with all the necessary hoses set for shipping, and by all accounts, had it on a truck bound for eastern Illinois by end of business on Monday.

“Lano Equipment is an 11 on a scale of 1-10,” Hartbank claims. “Getting that grapple will save on my back. I consider myself pretty lucky to have found them when I did.”

Fred Hartbank – Illinois landowner

“We were lucky,” Hartbank recalled. The 125 mph winds blew nearly all the shingles off his house and knocked down over 50 of his prized pine trees, many in their prime, some over 50 years old. He also spoke of massive property destruction nearby. His immediate neighbors lost two complete barns and a roof/attic off their house to the reported 125 MPH winds from the 3-4 tornadoes that made their way across the Mattoon area. See Hartbank’s video below of his property damage.

At Lano Equipment, in a year fraught with supply chain issues, we’re grateful we were able to help great people like Fred Hartbank in a pinch, and provide much needed gear. Our hearts also go out to the folks in Mayfield, KY, and all the states in the deadly tornado’s path, who lost their homes, property and loved ones, and the many hard-working souls like Fred Hartbank who are still digging out.