ADA, Minn. — A tight-knit community is mourning the loss of a mom, wife and much-loved neighbor after she was killed in a farm accident.
In these small Minnesota farm towns, they say everybody knows everybody. For Katie Vilmo's community in the Hendrum area, they say it's more like a big family.
"Katie was just like a second sister to me," said Brady Holte, who grew up on the next farm over.
He and many others who knew her said she was a helpful, hard worker, quiet, yet very easy to talk to.
"She just ... there's like a brightness to her that really shined," Holte said.
She went to high school here, at Norman County West in Halstad, Minn. On top of being a hard worker, Vilmo was known to be a fierce basketball player on both her high school and college teams.
"When everybody picked teams, everyone wanted Katie to be on their team because she was a brute you know, she was just a tough girl," said Tyler Kolness, a classmate of Katie's since kindergarten.
Three months ago, she and her husband Mike welcomed their newest daughter Kennedy to their family farm in Ada.
They were just starting a new life.
She studied ag all throughout college with dreams of settling down by the fields just like this.
At about 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16, a 911 call sent officers to the farm. They say she got pinned by a hay baler.
She was life-flighted to a Fargo hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead the next day.
"'Did you hear about Katie?' Holte said. "I'm like, 'Katie Brommenschenkel?' 'Yeah, she got life-flighted.' I'm like, 'What?' From then on , I'm sure when everyone heard that, it just seemed like the world had stopped. Someone who impacted your life that much or someone close to you, a mile and a half away, you would never think. She's way too young to go this early."
"I thought that she'd pull through," Kolness said. "I thought that everything will be alright. And then it's just kind of a shock to hear that she had actually passed away. You can't really prepare for something like that."
Her now 3-month-old daughter and husband Mike Vilmo are left behind.
As the family comes to grips with this loss, I'm told he won't have to raise Kennedy alone thanks to this wide network of family, whether blood related or from the community.
"Mike definitely can do it and he's got the family for it as well," Holte said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with medical costs. You can go to it by clicking here.