Out here in flyover country, we recently had some fires that devastated parts of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. You may not have heard about them, because no movie stars’ houses were destroyed - just those of hard working farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly every day to put food on your table.
The fires ravished nearly everything in their paths over an area of 1300 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas alone. That’s a land mass 100 square miles more than the size of Rhode Island. For those of you who’ve never been to Rhode Island, imagine a swath of destruction one mile wide that stretches from Washington DC to Dallas, TX. For city folks, that’s 22,100 city blocks.
Source: Wildfire Today/ NASA
The losses of cattle and other livestock are in the thousands of head and millions of dollars. According to one source, there have been forty homes lost. This is in addition to everything else: buildings, corrals, fences, trees and nearly every living thing in the path of fires that were fueled by 50-80 MPH winds strong enough to turn over semi-tractor trailers along I-70.
Insurance will cover very little of the losses, and you certainly won’t see cowboys and ranchers standing atop their horses demanding the federal government bail them out.
Instead, you will see this:
The video is one of many convoys of hay organized by farmers and ranchers who delivered vital supplies within days of the fires. These were people acting out of charity with no direction from the federal government nor did they wait for its permission. When the Department of Ag was probably considering convening a meeting, assembling bureaucrats and preparing paperwork, these folks were loading up bales and fueling trucks to feed hungry cattle. Convoys also came from many surrounding states delivering hay to ranches who lost entire supplies.
Trade associations, churches, and local volunteers are gathering fencing supplies, food, and monetary donations aided by the help of social media. A local livestock auction raised over $23,000 by selling a steer multiple times to aid the fire victims. However, to put it in perspective, that money will only purchase two to three miles of fence according to published estimates.
What’s the lesson in all this? Charity is best provided by grassroots, individual efforts, not a nameless faceless bureaucracy. Real charity provides a face of hope to the receiver and is a blessing to the giver. There is no reward in forcing your neighbor via taxation to pay for something you desire someone else to have whether it be a cell phone, free housing, food or even a new fence.
There is hope for America, if we can grasp this concept and live our lives more like the cowboys, ranchers, and farmers who derive their very existence from the land and nature itself which can sometimes be very cruel. That’s why they are some of the most down to earth people you would ever meet or know. After all, the closer to the earth you are, the more down to earth you will be.
With faith in God, some help from their neighbors and good hearted people across the country, they will climb back on the horse and get back to work. That’s the cowboy way.
If you want to mount up and join the posse, you can contact folks here to help: