Last week, fires raged across Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and continued to burn over the weekend. Each day brought more bad news with well more than a million acres burned and livestock injured and killed. By far, the most devastating of all were the tragedies of individual ranchers who lost their lives trying to open gates and save their cattle from the blaze.
My heart aches for the impacted families, the lives lost and the ranches that were destroyed in the flames. Eerily reminiscent of the Atlas Blizzard that devastated my home state and the surrounding area a few years ago, the people impacted by this fire are in desperate need of help, not that they’re asking for it, though.
In the wake of the fires, the agricultural community has really come together to help these folks. Quickly, recovery efforts were organized, hay was being sent down by the semi-truck load and prayers were being answered as good-hearted rural Americans came together to help their own.
Get an update on the Oklahoma and Kansas fires by clicking here.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going in this community, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.
You may be wondering how you can help, if you haven’t already. Currently, supply stations are running out of room to store the donated hay, but there are plenty of other ways to show your support.
Consider the STAR (State of Texas Agriculture Relief) Fund, which was created to assist producers in rebuilding fences, restoring operations and paying for other agricultural disaster relief efforts. You can learn more about the STAR Fund by clicking here.
If you’re the type to wear your heart on your sleeve, you may want to consider purchasing a t-shirt or two to support wildfire relief efforts.
Kansas State Sigma Alpha has a t-shirt sale going on right now, and all proceeds will be donated to the Kansas Livestock Association. Click here to purchase.
Additionally, let's be mindful that in the days and weeks to come, there will be plenty of help, but months down the road, when things have quieted down, that’s when folks will need the most help. Keep in touch with your contacts, offer to help in the rebuilding process and allow those who will be hurting in the years to come to grieve while you serve as a shoulder to cry on. Most importantly, remember these folks in your prayers.
May God grant the hurting ranchers of the Plains peace and renewed spirits as they step up from the ashes of the flames. The agricultural community is here to support you and uplift you during this difficult time.