I live in Groom, Tx--within a few miles of the wildfires which took place this week. In our area, around 315,000 acres were burned and 4 precious lives were lost as these men and women raced to save cattle, homes, and family. Over 1500 head of cattle died--which is devastating to ranchers who depend on cattle for their livelihood. I've heard of tough farmers and ranchers having to take down cattle and wild animals who were suffering--while tears streaked down their own faces.
If you don't live in our area, what you may not be hearing are all of the beautiful stories of sacrifice, help, and generosity which came immediately on the heels of the fires. Generous farmers loaded up truckloads of hay to deliver to the ranchers whose fields of grasses burned--grasses which feed their cattle. People donated trucks, gas money, drivers, and time to meet that immediate need. I know men who voluntarily fought the fires and turned right around to do this work--missing hours of sleep and rest because the need was immediate and severe. Talented and gifted western artisans began auctioning off their art, metal and leather wares to donate the proceeds to the families of the fire victims. Thousands of dollars have been raised. Two mothers will now be rearing children alone because of the fires. Funeral and living expenses are being raised on Go Fund Me pages for these families. Veterinarians offered their time and medicines for animals which were burned. 4-H clubs offered to board and feed calves whose mothers didn't survive the fire. Free meals were offered by restaurants in surrounding cities to the firemen. Massage therapists offered free massages to weary firemen. People volunteered to fix fences which burned. Men and women from all around saddled up their horses to round up dazed cattle and then herded them to a safe place. During the fire, whole communities began bringing food, water, and Gatorade and other necessities for the firemen and volunteers. Women gathered in kitchens to pray for the safety of the firefighters, animals, and homes. People from all over Texas are offering hay if someone can come pick it up; others are offering trucks--and somehow, God is connecting all of these people to make these deliveries happen! All of this...and so much more is taking place as our area begins the painstaking process of recovery.
People in our area are tough--you almost have to be to survive what the panhandle of Texas throws at you. But underneath that tough cowboy exterior, you'll find gentle, big, giving hearts--hearts full of love for God and their neighbors--people who would rather help others than worry about their own needs. As men rolled onto charred fields with loads of hay, tears were rolling down the cheeks of these survivors as they completely understood the love and sacrifice which were being shared. And then, it appears these ranchers are taking as little hay as possible to make sure their other neighbors get what they need. I'm so proud to live in a place where people have hearts as big as Texas! God bless all who gave.
Please pray for the families of Cody Crockett, Sydney Wallace, Cade Koch, & Sloan Everett.