September 1, 2015 // Local

Hospitality, welcoming the stranger, ‘stretches into the fields’ for Lomont family

Mick, left, and Jane, right, Lomont are shown with country music entertainer Luke Bryan. The Lomonts met Bryan for the first time at his show in July at the Klipsch Music Center. The Lomonts will host country music’s Luke Bryan’s 2015 Farm Tour concert on their farm on Sept. 30. Tickets for the concert went on sale July 10 and the New Haven show sold out (20,000) in six hours — a record in the seven-year history of the concert.

Farm chosen to host 2015 Farm Tour concert

By Michelle Castleman

NEW HAVEN — Whether he is feeding the hungry, burying the dead or visiting the imprisoned, Mick Lomont has long been known for his care of others. He has welcomed many a stranger into his home. Later this September he will be welcoming 20,000 music fans to his farm as he hosts the Country Music Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan for a sold-out 2015 Farm Tour concert.

The 75-year old, lifetime member of St. Louis Besancon Catholic Church, New Haven, Lomont dug his first grave at its cemetery around age of 17 and has been performing this duty ever since. Lomont is also the building and grounds coordinator and served as one of the parish “go-to guys” for many years.

Outside of his parish, Lomont is very active serving weekly in the jail ministry at the Allen County Jail. Mick and his wife of nearly 50 years, Jane, were once recipients of the Associated Churches Barnabas Award, recognizing their “outstanding commitment to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a manner exemplary for all Christians.”

Jane, too is committed to parish life and has been the church organist since moving to New Haven from her Ottawa, Ohio, home where the two were married. Jane taught religious education in East Allen County Schools and at St. Louis Parish for decades.

The Lomonts have had an open door policy and are well-known for their hospitality. The parents of six children, the Lomonts always had extras at their dinner table.

“Our friends loved to hear dad tell stories and eat mom’s sausage rolls,” daughter Ellen Oberley detailed.

It was not unusual for Lomont to invite a homeless man to Thanksgiving dinner or give an ex-offender part-time work on the farm.

“Growing up, someone was always stopping by to borrow something from dad,” Oberley continued. “He was happy to help the neighbors out by letting them use his truck or many times would give someone gas money along the highway or drive them to their destination himself if they were hard up.”

Lomont’s farming operation consists of corn, soybeans and wheat. And it’s one of his wheat fields that will be the site for the first stop on Luke Bryan’s 2015 Farm Tour.

“I was impressed that a big star would go back to his roots and do a show in the middle of a field to benefit agriculture in small communities,” Lomont said of his decision to host the concert.

On several different occasions, Lomont and Luke Bryan’s location manager have met with personnel like city, county and state law enforcement, fire and board of health.

Between now and concert time, Sept. 30, Lomont will be busy preparing the site by planting a rye grass cover crop after the wheat harvest, putting in access driveways for parking and fencing off the neighboring homes.

“It’s all pretty exciting to think about and we are just praying for no rain that week,” Lomont quipped.

Bryan’s original request was a 120 acre wheat field somewhere in Allen County, but when none could be found, it was decided more ideal to split the plot on both sides of Girard Road in rural eastern Allen County. Gates to the stage area will be across from the Lomont’s driveway with parking in the field surrounding their family home of over 40 years.

Tickets for the concert went on sale July 10 and the New Haven show sold out (20,000) in six hours — a Farm Tour record. A portion of the ticket proceeds are granted to a local college for students from a farming family within the communities the tour plays — another plus in Lomont’s eyes.

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