Recent wildfires have completely devastated farms and ranches in areas of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Farmers have watched their entire life’s work go up in flames. Some farmers even lost their lives trying to save their livestock. In the midst of this horrific event, something else has been spreading like wildfire . . . support, generosity and selflessness among complete strangers.
For a couple of weeks now I have been reading about and seeing videos across social media of people all over the country giving their time and money to try to bring some sense of relief to those affected. The last few days, I have witnessed members of my own community coming together to donate and haul fencing supplies, milk replacer for orphaned calves, loads of hay and much more to those in need in Ashland, Kansas. Hometown businesses have gone above and beyond to give of their own time and funds and make every dollar stretch even further. Community members, farmers and non farmers, have selflessly given their time, money and prayers.
What has happened in Ashland, Kansas and the surrounding areas is absolutely horrible. No farmer or rancher should ever have to watch their horses, cattle, dogs, home and farm go up in flames. But there is good that comes from bad. This event has shed light on the incredible devotion that farmers and ranchers have for their animals. It has shown the true compassion among the agricultural community. Whether you’re a cattle rancher in Kansas or a hog farmer in Iowa, we all share the same passion for our way of life. Taking care of our animals is not a job; it’s a lifestyle. Our animals are the highest priority. The animals get taken care of and fed before anything else gets done each day.
So it’s not surprising that the farming and small town community across the entire country has come together in faith, strength and ability. The ag community is the most tightly knit one that I know of. When one is hurting, we all hurt. There is no question that if this disaster had happened in Iowa, these ranchers in Kansas would be loading up their trucks and hauling needed items up to us.
We like to think that we have control. We like to think that we can avoid disasters or be prepared for certain events. But mother nature has a way of bringing us to our knees and humbling us to realize that we really don’t have any control. Sometimes God brings circumstances that we can’t understand. But then you see how people react in such a wonderful way to such an awful event. You see people coming together, offering anything they can to help those in need. You see the absolute best in people rise to the surface. And that is an absolutely beautiful thing.
The ranchers in the Southwest are going to need our continued help and prayers for a long time to come. There is no question they will rebuild and will be even stronger than they were before. But they have an incredibly hard road ahead of them.
God bless all those suffering in the Southwest right now and may your strength and courage continue to spread like wildfire.