Of Character: Red Rock farmer and rancher tries to help others when they ask or when he notices a need.
RED ROCK — Subtle actions.
Marty Williams, 33, of Red Rock, is a farmer and rancher who toils roughly from 7 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m. daily. Williams, along with wife, Crystal, daughter, Ava, son, Morgan, and three employees each do what they can on a farm operation that raises wheat, canola, barley, corn, grain sorghum and soybeans in a rotation. The Williamses also tend to their cattle.
So free time is hard to come by. That’s where Marty Williams’ subtle actions and messages translate to powerful works.
“Every day, I get phone calls from neighbors and friends who need help with something,” Williams said, “whether it be an open ear to listen to an emotional problem, or they might need me to help them troubleshoot a broken piece of equipment or drive 20 miles to see what could be causing their crop to look bad or what chemical to use to kill a certain weed in a crop.
“I am always on call and feel that the biggest gift you can give anyone is the gift of your time. I always answer and always try to help, and if I can’t I find someone immediately who can.”
Help as help is needed
As a result, his volunteer roles typically don’t come with titles — it’s help as help is needed.
Williams has taken a box of food and 20 pounds of home-raised beef to families he knows can’t afford it. Marty and Crystal have also “silently given private college scholarships to many kids in the community whom we know will impact the world and be good Christian people.”
Williams has used his knowledge in agronomy to occasionally help the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service as a volunteer. He has also volunteered to teach seminars at crop schools and conventions, and has been a guest lecturer a couple of times at Oklahoma State University. A national farm organization focusing on no-till farming has visited his farm with bus tours and he has taught seminars at its annual meeting.
Marty and Crystal Williams were the winners of the 2014 Oklahoma Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award and represented Oklahoma at the national contest this month in San Diego.
More than a song
Through the years, Marty, his mother Melanie Williams, and now Marty’s daughter, Ava, have volunteered their time as entertainment in the Noble County area by singing for March of Dimes events, Race for the Cure and especially Relay for Life.
One of those times stuck with Marty and revamped his perspective about what each appearance meant to those listening.
Things on the farm were hectic, but Marty, his mother and his daughter were asked to sing for the March of Dimes a couple of years ago in Perry.
“I hardly ever say no to entertain for events like this but this particular day my heart wasn’t in it,” Williams said. “We were crazy busy on the farm and I hadn’t rehearsed at all.”
Williams hastily sat up the sound equipment. His plan was to sing, take everything down and get back to the field as soon as possible. Because of twin cousins, he knows the importance of what the March of Dimes supports, but life’s demands were getting in the way on this particular day.
Then with one song it changed — Vince Gill’s emotional “Go Rest High on That Mountain.”
“I scanned the very small crowd and saw a woman, whom I’ve known casually my entire life, sobbing uncontrollably and being comforted by a friend,” Williams said. “My song had touched her heart. I almost lost it. Obviously this woman had lost an infant child and was struggling with it. I’ve never talked to her about it, yet I somehow felt as if I helped her pain just a little.”
Williams was frustrated with himself for being ill-prepared and in a hurry.
“The farm can wait,” he said. “All we have in life are people. Relationships matter, not chasing a dollar. Here I had spoke to this woman weekly as I did business at her place of work yet I didn’t know her story. I didn’t know her pain. Had I been rude to her even unknowingly, could I have consoled her before?
“That day I decided to treat events such as this differently. If I was too busy I would not participate in the events at all. These efforts deserved 100 percent of my time and energy. And I learned that God wants me to continue to be an open ear for those around who may just need a friend to talk to.”
Living that message
Annually, Marty’s parents, Dennis and Melanie, gave their children $100 each for Christmas to be used to help someone.
Then, Christmas Day, the children would share the stories with their siblings about how they put this gift to unselfish use.
“They did this on into our young adult lives,” Williams said. “We grew to love it. Our children buy presents for needy kids at Christmas, and I set aside some farm profits that the employees get to help donate. I do this yearly.
“This lets my employees understand that when they work hard others can benefit.”