Cyndi's Two Cents

Unconditional support for wildfire victims

Commentary.

You’ve heard the stories.  You’ve seen the pictures and perhaps watched the videos.  The horror of fiery destruction that swept across the Great Plains in early March, burning hundreds of thousands of acres in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas brought many of us to our knees in prayer for those in the path of the wildfires.

Steve Amosson with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expects wildfire damages to total more than $25 million in the Great Plains when it’s all said and done.

“That obviously is going to put a hurt on a lot of these ranchers, but we also lost four people in this fire and there’s not much you can do about that.”

People died.  Livestock died.  Wildlife died.  Buildings and fences and farm equipment burned.  The plains were scorched. It was horrific.

The Panhandle complex fires in 2006 were the largest in Texas history, burning across a million acres.  While the acreage count isn’t that high this year, total damages could be more than three-quarters of the 2006 fire.

Many survivors of those wildfires have written or spoken about the experience.  Others simply set about the task before them.  If they were unable to move livestock to a safe area before the fires came through, they had the dreadful chore of saving those they could save and putting others out of misery.  The physical and emotional toll on a stockman’s body and soul is indescribable.

From all this horror and sadness and loss, though, the goodness of rural Americans prevailed.  Farmers and ranchers and families and FFA Chapters and agribusinesses and farm organizations and commodity groups and 4-H clubs and churches and state departments of agriculture from across this great nation rallied together to support their brothers and sisters in need.  Convoys of trucks loaded down with hay and fence posts, skid loaders and tools, gates and everything else that might be needed to aid in the rebuilding efforts began heading to the hardest hit areas within hours of learning of the need.

Some have voiced disappointment by the lack of national media coverage of not only the devastation caused by the wildfires, but of the outpouring of generosity from so many in rural America.   Perhaps it is a blessing that the national news network camera crews and crisis chasers haven’t shown up to get in the way of the rebuilding and assistance efforts.  Local radio, local newspapers, ag radio networks, ag print publications, ag websites and digital outlets spread the stories of loss and those of hope more effectively and honestly than those so-called reporters who might be looking for ratings and a smoking gun.

No HSUS.  No PETA. I’d call that a win.

It is the unconditional love and support given with no expectation for accolades and recognition that is most meaningful.  Give not because you want people to know that you have given, but because it is the right thing to do.

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