Washington Co. residents sending much needed help to Kansas farmers affected by wildfires

Published: Mar. 16, 2017 at 6:51 PM CDT
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Some Washington County farmers are sending a little Iowa nice to the southwest.

Wildfires destroyed areas of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The National Weather Service said dry grasses, low humidity levels and high winds all contributed to the wildfires which started March 6th. In Kansas alone, the fires have devoured land in 20 counties and killed up to six thousand cows. People are pitching in any way they can. A woman said a trucker got a flat tire on his way to deliver hay to Kansas and the repair man gave him a roll of hundred dollar bills to give to the people affected by the fires.

"It just got to be pretty heartbreaking and we just felt a need to want to help them" said Megan Coakley of Wayland.

So they got to work. Washington County residents started collecting donations of money and materials for the farmers affected in Kansas. Carol Horning of Washington has already made a trip out to Kansas.

"I asked my husband do we have extra hay? He's like yeah and I was thinking a few bales and he said I could send a semi load" said Horning.

Washington resident Mike Berdo and his friends brought in a bunch of instant calf milk replacer. That pallet alone cost nearly $3,000 but he says it's worth every penny.

"When we got there the devastation was beyond anything you could possibly imagine" said Horning.

"They have nothing left, literally nothing. Homes are burned, animals are burned. Fences are gone. We have to do something and this is what we're doing" said Berdo.

Coakley and Horning used the donation money at local stores to buy fence posts, barbed wire, and other things the farmers will need.

"We're all family. These people - we have no idea who they are. Where we took this stuff - other than one person that I know down there, we don't care where it goes to, we don't know who it goes to. All we want to do is help because we know it could be us at any time" said Horning.

Coakley is amazed at the amount of support from the community.

"Just putting yourself into their shoes of what was happening and knowing what it would take to get back on their feet and again just the stories" said Coakley.

She gets more and more calls every day from people who feel the same way and want to help. The group is getting ready to load up another semi full of supplies Friday afternoon. Anyone who would like to contribute money or materials to help the affected farmers should contact Vision Ag located at 2952 IA-92 in Ainsworth.