Hope Renewed

Imagine everything you have worked for, all your hopes and dreams, literally going up in flames. It would be hard to comprehend the loss and the devastation, with the aftermath being just ashes and smoke. No one expects to experience a disaster, and there is little to no preparation for it when it hits.

In the early part of March this year, prairie wildfires raged across the Texas Panhandle, scorching parts of Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma, as well. This disaster affects everyone, not just those directly involved. No specific numbers have been tallied, but it has been reported that approximately 2 million acres and an estimated 20,000 head of livestock have perished in the aftermath of the wildfires. In addition, human lives were lost, and many were injured.

Trucking outfits, feed and supply companies, farmers, good-hearted people and truck drivers have rallied together to bring support, help and hope to the wildfire victims. No one has asked for thanks or recognition for these efforts, but this display of widespread assistance and care deserves to be acknowledged. Amidst the chaos of the news, very little coverage has been given in regards to how and where people can donate and help, even though social media sites like Facebook have helped make stories of the wildfires and relief efforts go viral.

Convoys of both semis and pickup trucks have been captured from many areas hauling hay, feed, care packages, fencing and other supplies to wildfire victims all over the Panhandle. Missouri DOT even waived their curfew hours and oversize/overweight permits for people bringing the needed hay and supplies down. Police and patrol escorts were set up to insure the safety of these convoys while passing through certain areas.

Some fuel stops along the way even donated fuel to aid the drivers in bringing in relief to the affected areas, and other places have donated items that haven’t even been mentioned. Strangers from all over walked up to trucks, with cash in hand, to give to the drivers for them to take it down to help the wildfire victims. Other caring people paid for the drivers’ fuel to assist in their efforts.

I was told of one convoy who came to a fuel stop as the woman had already locked up and was leaving in her car. She not only turned around and opened the place back up, but she also paid for what the drivers needed. This is what it means to be an American. Americans helping Americans. So inspiring!

Every dollar helps! Please take the time to donate, so we can assist our fellow Americans to rebuild their lives and give them hope of a brighter future. Information is available and donations can be made at the following websites: the American Angus Association (www.angus.org); the Colorado Farm Bureau (www.coloradofarmbureau.com); Kansas Farm Bureau (www.kfb.org); the Kansas Livestock Association (www.kla.org or call 785-273-5115); Oklahoma Farm Bureau (visit www.okfarmbureau.org or call 405-530-2681); Panhandle Wildfire Relief Fund (www.texasfarmbureau.org). Checks can also be made out to the Texas Farm Bureau Agriculture Research and Education Foundation. Please send them to: Panhandle Wildfire Committee, Attn: Cyndi Gerik, P.O. Box 2689, Waco, TX 76702-2689.

I am so proud to be a part of an industry that supports one another and comes together for the cause – whatever it may be. This majority of good-hearted drivers are overlooked by some, but their generosity doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you to every one of you who donated to helping the victims and to everyone else who took part in making the relief efforts happen. Where tragedy appears, hope is renewed, and faith is restored.

NOTE: After learning about this tragedy and how truckers came to offer help, I was moved to write a poem, of sorts. Inspired by a Ram pickup truck commercial that was originally played during the Superbowl called “So God Made a Farmer” I penned “So God Made a Trucker” in honor of their service and goodwill. I hope you enjoy it.

FINAL NOTE: Thanks go out to our friends Ingrid Brown and Kris Santoianni for providing the photographs for this article.

SO GOD MADE A TRUCKER

On the 8th day, God looked down at his creation after making a caretaker and said, “I need a relocation specialist”…

So God made a trucker.

God said, “I need someone to rise and sleep at odd hours, check their truck before and after their run to insure safety for themselves and those around them, be on time to deliver their freight, but be willing to be late to help a fellow driver who broke down in the cold of winter”…

So God made a trucker.

“I need someone strong enough to throw chains and tarps, ratchet binders, lock in load bars, change tires and drive away from home, but soft enough to kiss their loved ones, look into their eyes and say, “See you when I get back home.” Someone who, after securing their load, wiping the sweat from their brow, seeing another driver struggling with theirs, is willing to walk over and offer a hand”…

So God made a trucker.

God said, “I need someone who will look in their side mirror at their child waving goodbye, with a smile then a sigh, and wipe a tear from their eye, knowing they are doing what they love ultimately for those that they love. Someone to transport livestock with genuine care for their safety, someone who will offer assistance at the scene of an accident, call 911 or donate to a cause”…

So God made a trucker.

God needed someone willing to get dirty, covered in oil and grease, bumps and bruises along the way, missing time with family because the repair took longer than expected or the receiver wouldn’t take the load, but would take the time to stop what they were doing when they heard a little voice behind them say, “Can we go outside to play?”…

So God made a trucker.

God said, “I need someone who can run as a team or by themselves, can pull any trailer with a manual transmission semi. Someone to maneuver a dump truck, cement truck, tow truck and or everything in between. Someone who will drive safely whether on a goat trail, a winding two-lane, gravel driveway or the interstate. Someone who will drive through a snow storm, high winds or heavy rain to arrive at their destination. Someone with patience to deal with motorists around them, steady hands to shift and steer, and the heart when there is a crisis, to donate their time, their truck, their money and their fuel to assist strangers who have experienced unfathomable loss and tragedy. To assist in slowly piecing their lives back together again”…

So God made a trucker.

Thank you, truckers! Stephanie Haas – Diesel Addict Photos

About Stephanie Haas