DECATUR, Mich. (WOOD) — On a muddy trail next to a large grain elevator near Decatur, seven big rigs sat loaded with supplies Friday, ready for the 13-hour trip to Russell, Kansas.
“There’s a group of farmers down there who haven’t got much help yet. They’re getting all their neighbors and we’re meeting them down there (to) hand out the supplies they need,” explained Lawrence-area farmer Dain Webster, an organizer of the relief effort.
“We’ve got five truckloads of hay, we have a truckload of nothing but grain and milk replacer, (and) we’ve got another truckload of small square bales and random stuff,” said Webster.
The same weather that provides the means to grow crops and raise livestock also created the conditions for wildfires in the Plains states. Farmers in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado all suffered losses from the fires.
“They’ve lost entire pastures, everything they feed their cattle. They’ve lost crops. A lot of hog farms have been destroyed, ” recounted Webster.
Also damaged or destroyed: homes, barns and miles of fencing that protects the herd.
Webster heard the plight of those farmers a week or two ago and decided to join the relief effort.
“We were just expecting a little bit here and there. But it’s turned into our community supporting their community,” said Webster. “It’s grown into, we have seven semis coming from this area in Van Buren County, full of hay and grain. We’ve gotten a lot of cash donations for fuel, for fencing supplies.”
Truckers volunteered their rigs to drive the supplies down.
“All these truckers, they either got done with work this morning or last night, and they have to be back to work on Sunday morning. They’re taking their time to be with their families between work to do this,” said Webster.
At noon on Friday, their diesel engines roared to life and air horns sounded. The journey was underway.
The convoy, which will join others along the way from throughout Michigan, is set to arrive in Russell sometime Saturday.
“I’ve talked to a few people down there, they’re a very proud people. They don’t ask for help,” said Webster.