Lipscomb County community 'pays it forward' to Oklahoma fire victims

Lipscomb County community 'pays it forward' to Oklahoma fire victims
Source: Locust Grove Volunteer Fire Department Facebook Page
Source: Locust Grove Volunteer Fire Department Facebook Page
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

LIPSCOMB COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - The Locust Grove Volunteer Fire Department along with local residents and ranchers are working to help those who have lost it all in Oklahoma.

They said this is their way of paying it forward following last year's fires in the Texas Panhandle.

Get the latest Amarillo news straight to your phone! Apple | Android

Locust Grove Volunteer Fire Chief Travis Francis had a front row seat to last year's March wildfires.

"Many people that serve on this fire department, all of us are ranchers or self employed somehow out here," said Francis. "We were all affected."

That's why when the department saw the devastation of recent fires in Oklahoma, they knew they had to do something.

"We just started making phone calls and seeing what we could do," said Francis. "Just from some experience we knew hay and feed were gonna be immediate needs. The cattle had to eat something."

They reached out to fire departments, churches and even schools to find a way to help. However, they weren't the only ones on the way with donations.

"People are stepping up to the plate, just like it was done for them," said Lipscomb cattle rancher, Kathy Price.

She lost her entire ranch in last year's fires.

"We lost cattle and that was horrible but we didn't lose our homes," said Price. "The feelings that it brings back over you, you certainty empathize, and so you want to do something. You just can't help but want to do something."

Price has now made four trips across the Texas-Oklahoma border, bringing leftover hay that was donated to her last year.

She said the community was quick to jump on board.

"My daughter actually got on social media, Facebook, and put it out there," said Price. "Canadian, and Lipscomb, and Follett and Darrouzett people responded just unbelievably to the stocked trailer load of water and clothes and food and toiletries and stuff over there."

Francis said they traveled just east of Leedey, and the image was all too familiar.

"We saw nothing but black, and firetrucks, and trees smoldering, and fences on the ground, and cattle picking at whatever little bitty grass was left and hiding behind the water hole," said Francis. "It's just heartfelt all over again. I just can't imagine again, I just can't imagine."

He hopes others will join their efforts and return the favor that so many other people gave to the people of the Panhandle last year.

"It's not just firefighters that are doing this, it's all of the people in the community, and in the area that were affected, or weren't affected or helped in some way last year," said Francis. "We just said 'call them up.' Said 'let's rally the troops we have to go again. We have to start all over, we have help somebody else this time.' That got us excited to just pay it forward. We received so much last year we had to give it back to somebody else."

Francis has compiled a list of different departments and agencies that are helping those affected by the fires.

You can help by contacting one of the following:

Vici Chamber of Commerce
Clothing, Food, Household Items
Tammy Camp

Vici Oklahoma
Rex Hale
Livestock needs, Hay, Feed, Fencing

Camargo Oklahoma
Katrina Bryant
Livestock needs, Hay, Feed, Fencing

Seiling Oklahoma
Ron Cole
Livestock needs, Hay, Feed, Fencing especially

OSU Extension Hotline
Livestock needs, Hay, Feed, Fencing

Vici Public Schools
Kas Nelson
P.O. Box 60
Vici, OK 73859

Woodward Oklahoma
Justin Howard
Hay only

Wheeler County
Livestock needs, Hay, Feed, Fencing
Kristen Moudy

Copyright 2018 KFDA. All rights reserved.