Trucks loaded with hay and fencing supplies donated by ranchers from southern and northern Barber County leave Hutchinson on the morning of March 31 and formed a convoy headed to Nebraska. They said they wanted to give back after ranchers in Nebraska were generous with donations of hay to Barber County in the aftermath of the disastrous Anderson Creek wildfire in 2016.
Trucks loaded with hay and fencing supplies prepare to deliver supplies to ranchers near Pierce, Neb. on March 31. For some members of the group, the trip meant a 21-hour day, but they said the joy of knowing they helped victims of the catastrophic Nebraska flooding made the exhaustion well worth it.
THE GROUP MEMBERS
Ranchers gather for a group photo before heading to Nebraska, including Andy and Micah Waggoner, Nick Fox, Bo Clark, Garrett Johnson, John Coggins, Larry Corr, Cole Coggins, Ben Foster, Zeb Shurter, Anna Shurter, Chris Boyd, Dan Lukens and Bruce Miller. Roy Henson also made the trip but is not pictured here.
HELP ALONG THE WAY
Oscar Sheetz poses in front of the truck tire he helped change out. When Chris Boyd blew a tire on his trailer just outside Belleville, he called the only tire store in town. Rocking Oz Tires was closed, but Boyd said, “the good Lord put Oscar Sheetz in the office,” and he answered the call. Sheetz had the size tire needed and came to change it out. While replacing it, he pointed to a second tire that he feared wouldn’t make the whole trip and changed it too. When Boyd offered payment, Sheetz told him to “get back on the road,” turning down payment for both the tires and the labor.
TIME FOR LUNCH
The hay convoy stops for lunch in Strang, Neb. During the stop, townsfolk turned out to greet the drivers and provided lunch without charge. Ranchers said it was heartwarming to be able to give back the help they received after the Anderson Creek fire.
Volunteers unload hay bales from the Kansas convoy. When the trucks arrived at the drop point near Pierce, Neb., farmers were waiting with trucks and loaders to move the hay to ranchers most in need. Organizer Ben Foster said all 300 of the big round bales were on their way to Nebraska farms within two hours.
A LOOK AT THE DAMAGE
A scene of the flood damage is photographed from the convoy. Drivers said the damage from the flooding to the countryside and fields was heartbreaking. Ben Foster said they saw shipping containers, dead cows, tree limbs and more littering farm fields everywhere.
Pierce, Neb., community members provide dinner for the convoy drivers as they prepare to head back after delivering the hay and fencing supplies. Drivers said the gratitude of the local people was both heartwarming and humbling when memories of their own feelings in 2016 surfaced.
Volunteers help unload hay bales from the convoy trucks upon their arrival at the drop point. Ben Foster said he had barely gotten the truck stopped and turned off before waiting farmers had four straps removed and were loading bales onto farm trucks to deliver to feed hungry cows.