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Ogemaw County farmers and businesses joined together to help ranches devastated by wildfires

Friday, March 31, 2017 4:47 PM | Anonymous

Twenty two Semis and trucks are making a 20-hour drive to Kansas to deliver grain, hay, fencing and other supplies

WEST BRANCH, Mich. – Early Friday morning, nearly 50 people aboard 22 semis and pick-up trucks set out from West Branch on a 20-hour drive to Ashland, Kansas, to deliver hay, grain, fencing, sawdust and woodchips to ranchers who have lost hundreds of thousands of acres to recent wildfires. The convoy is scheduled to arrive in Ashland Saturday.

“Ranches in Ashland are among the hardest hit by these wildfires, which have burned 400,000 acres in Clark County alone,” said Jock Kartes, a convoy organizer. ”We are going to personally deliver the supplies generously donated by farmers and businesses across Ogemaw County to three ranches in Ashland.”

One of the businesses supporting the cause is Griffin Beverage, a locally owned, independent beer distributor headquartered in West Branch. The distributor provided a truck, hay and printed the signs that are affixed to the back of each semi and pick-up truck which reads, in part, “Ogemaw Wildfire Relief Convoy, from our Farm to Yours.”

“We’re proud to be one of a number of businesses in Ogemaw County to donate our time, expertise and materials for such a worthy cause,” said Bob Griffin, president of Griffin Beverage. ”It’s heartwarming to see the entire county rally together to help these ranchers in their time of need.”

“When Jock and I first came up with the idea to head to Kansas to help these ranchers, it was just going to be the two of us,” said Roy Smith, also a convoy organizer. “But word traveled quickly and before we knew it farmers and businesses across Ogemaw County were offering to donate materials, trucks, time and fuel. Next thing we know, we have a 22-truck convoy heading to Kansas.”

In all, over 650,000 acres of prairie grass were scorched across Kansas, making it the largest wildfire in the state’s history.

“We want to thank the farmers and businesses in Ogemaw County who rallied together to make these generous donations for such a noble cause,” said Kartes.



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