As a continuation from last month’s article on the wildfires that blazed across three states–Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska, a group of workers traveled down to Protection, KS to aid a ranching family in the aftermath of the devastating fires.
About half a month prior to his departure, Greg Meyer of Creighton, aided by Jesse and Adele Rader of Orchard (owners of Rader Feed & Supply), had begun collecting various donations and supplies that would be used on their mission to help aid the ranching family.
Meyer, along with several volunteers, had left with two pickups and two trailers at 4 p.m. on March 30, arriving in Protection, KS at roughly 1:30 a.m. the following morning. A local renter in the city limits of Protection had graciously provided an extravagant four-bedroom house for Meyer and his crew to stay throughout the duration of their stay.
At 7 a.m. the next morning, Meyer and the volunteers met with the rancher, Bill Barby, who they had come down to assist.
While the crew had begun to start working, a third vehicle carrying over 400 wood posts had left Creighton at 5 a.m. and had arrived in Protection at 2 p.m. The crew spent the rest of the day unloading permanent steel corner posts across his 4,000 acre ranch land, meanwhile the vehicle that had drove up that morning to Protection drove back up to Creighton totalling a constant 16-hour round trip for the additional driver.
The next day, Barby treated Meyer and his crew to breakfast at the local cafe in Protection, and promptly afterwards work resumed on the ranch. Meyer and his crew had begun to install the corner posts that they had unloaded the previous day.
They used a side by side UTV, three pickups and trailers and a Bobcat Skidsteer to help aid them in the process. They continued this throughout the entire day and managed to install nine cemented corner posts across many acres of pasture ground.
The next morning, Meyer and his crew were invited by Barby to a local church service, called Gods Country Cowboy Church. It was there that they ate lunch, listened to a sermon and visited with the community members.
Meyer was taken aback by the compassion and positivity that the members of the community possessed despite the terrible tragedy.
“The entire town and community was Christian faithed. Their attitudes were so inspiring despite going through a tragedy that caused an unbelievable amount of damage. It was a very memorable trip for us...there were so many lessons learned, and so many good hearted values we gained from these people. It felt a lot like home, everyone was so loving and caring of their community. Agricultural communities far and wide are such a beautiful thing. It was life changing for me to see.”
Meyer had also described the amount of peril Barby had put himself in during the wildfires to save his livestock operation.
“Bill was able to save his cattle by himself the day of the fires by putting his herd of 500 cattle onto a neighbor’s green wheat field. All of his ranch fences were lost to the fire. He was also able to wet down his building site where his equipment was located.”
The progress of work and repair had been halted due to overnight rain on Saturday going into Sunday, leaving Barby, Meyer, and the rest of the crew unable to get back into the pasture that day to work.
Meyer and his crew left Protection around 9 a.m. the next day to head back to Creighton.
The following is a list of donators who contributed to help the ranching family:
Royal Fire Department
Brunswick State Bank
Schwager Custom Haying
In total, $5,425 was collectively received in monetary donations. The supplies that Meyer's crew were able to bring through the donations were 400+ wood posts, 250+ T-posts, 168 bags of Quikrete Cement, 30+ rolls of wire, boxes of staples/clips/insulators, and other fencing supplies.
The link to the video of the journey can be found here on Greg Meyer's Facebook page.