Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Ashes to ashes
March 17, 2017
Have you been following the devastating fires that have scorched Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado the last couple weeks? What a tragedy our fellow ranchers are facing in that part of the country.
The situation and people impacted have weighed heavily on my mind, and I have spent plenty of time praying and following the events online; reading firsthand accounts and obituaries of people my age or younger, as well as watching videos and perusing photos of the dead livestock and landscape.
It's never clear why God allows such things to happen, but in my opinion part of the lesson has to be what happens immediately following. At least for those of us blessed enough to call agriculture our profession. People are moved to act and bestow kindness and grace in ways that outweigh even the worst of times. They become shining examples of God's love, and restore faith in humanity while providing a bright light in an otherwise dim and exhausting situation.
There have been literal convoys of hay and feed pour into the area from across the country. In a matter of days, the immediate hay needs of more than a million burned acres were nearly or entirely met. Vet supply companies have their phone numbers plastered all over the internet for people to call with any need, stating it will be met without question or bill. I've seen a smattering of national ag companies make five figure donations toward fencing supplies, and in researching possible places to send a monetary donation, have come across numerous legitimate choices that are ready to help both short and long term.
This desire to care for friend and neighbor, far and wide, is part of the very core of what makes American agriculture so amazing. For those wondering if a contribution to the relief effort will actually make a long lasting, positive impact, let me provide you a resounding yes!
It was just under four years ago that we faced a terrible blizzard that sparked a similar response within the agriculture community. To this day, I regularly think of the known and anonymous contributions that flowed into our lives following that event. There are the monthly bills I pay that I recall covering with funds received from giving souls in the months following the Atlas. There are donated items we still use – a personal favorite is a Cabelas to-go coffee mug. I can't help but smile and think of the entire box of Thanksgiving cheer that a handful of North Dakota communities sent us whenever I use it.
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There are also the livestock themselves. Those purchased from family to make up numbers and the precious few that were donated. In fact, the first "Virginian" cow, thus named for her home state, calved three days ago. Every time I see one of those cows, and especially when they calve, I think of God's blessings and all that he has done for us in four short years.
I pray the same will be true for our friends to the south when they look back on this time. Whether you feel moved to contribute to the effort of helping them rebuild or not is a personal choice. Regardless, I hope you will keep those impacted in your prayers. They are facing a time in life when prayer can be felt almost literally, and will never be forgotten.
May God bless the American rancher.
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