Jessica Domel 2017-09-27 17:33:24
It didn’t take long. Hours after news hit that Hurricane Harvey had slammed into the Texas coast and left destruction in its wake, Texans stood up to help their neighbors in need. Help came in the form of monetary donations, hay, feed, clothing, food and loving words of encouragement. Texas is strong. We’ll get through this together. “Put us to work.” When Hurricane Harvey forced the cancellation of their weekend plans, a group of young farmers and ranchers in Anderson County didn’t take the opportunity to rest. Instead, they jumped into action and did everything they could to help those in need. They sat outside a grocery store in Palestine for four days, accepting donations of all types. Then, they took the two tons of feed, water, school supplies and other donations to a supply point in Orange. “We dropped off our supplies and said, ‘We’re here for the weekend. Put us to work,’” Laura Downe, Anderson County Young Farmer & Rancher Committee member, said. The five volunteers also pitched in to help clean up. They pulled down damaged sheet rock and insulation in two homes. “My prayer was that all of this would be a blessing to the people who really needed it, but I feel like I was the one who was blessed because the people were so grateful,” Downe said. The group hopes to make another trip to the affected area. “We’re going to be there for them.” The San Patricio County Farm Bureau (CFB), which now includes Aransas County, opened its coffers after Harvey, offering $10,000 to help 4-H and FFA students who lost the means to care for their livestock projects. “It’s going to go to the housing of animals and things like that,” Matt Setliff, San Patricio CFB president, said. “We’re going to use one of our contacts in the city of Corpus Christi to help us to get in touch with these kids who have been affected and help them.” Although replacing items like animal pens may not be the first thing on some people’s minds, Setliff said it’s a necessity for these kids. “In some places, there was total destruction,” Setliff said. “The first priority might not be a tent for their animal. It might be a house to live in, but when the time comes, we’re going to be there for them.” CFB leaders also hosted a cookout at their office in Rockport, an area hit hard by the hurricane. They grilled up hamburgers, hot dogs and a large serving of community support. They also plan to donate $500 to each of the volunteer fire departments in the area who helped with storm cleanup. Hay from the heart Most of them have never met. Some never will. But that didn’t stop a group of Cherokee County farmers, ranchers and students from doing all they could to help their fellow Texans flooded by Hurricane Harvey. John Griffith, president of the Cherokee County Farm Bureau, was inspired by Texas Farm Bureau Field Representative Jodie Goff taking a load of donations and hay to FFA students in Kountze and Buna. As an agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor in the Alto Independent School District, Griffith understood the need for hay and offered up 200 of his own square bales of hay. He met with his school principal and FFA leaders who decided to solicit donations via Facebook. They then loaded them up and headed to Buna. “There was a good friend of mine that was the ag teacher at Orangefield,” Griffith said. “He had secured a load that had been brought in previously. He came up to me and was very emotional. He hugged me and just could not express how thankful they were that we were willing to help out.” Griffith and the students unloaded about 225 bales of hay into the school’s ag barn. “They were down to about five bales before we started unloading,” Griffith said. Back home in Alto, the donations didn’t stop. Farm Bureau members and others offered their hay up freely to the FFA students who would need the hay to keep their livestock projects alive. The group has promises of more hay, but due to space issues, Griffith is delivering it to Buna as needed. “It’s going to be a long-term process,” Griffith said. “A lot of the hay supplies were saturated with water, which they’re not going to be able to use in the winter months. There’s going to be a demand if the producers can’t get a last cutting due to the flooded fields.” These aren’t the only stories of caring volunteers who offered up their time, talents and possessions to Hurricane Harvey victims. But they’re representative of a greater good—the Texas spirit shining through.
Published by Texas Farm Bureau. View All Articles.