When Ramey Keeth heard about the devastating wildfires that took three lives in the Texas Panhandle last week, he didn’t think twice about what to do.
“When I heard of the three kids that were killed in the fire it broke my heart,” said Keeth of 2E Land & Cattle Co., just outside Poolville. “I didn’t know the family but a good friend of mine did so the next morning I went to work.”
He lined up hay and trucks to transport it. Called his neighbors. Got hold of contacts from when he was in the feed business north of Lubbock.
“I worked for a lot of those ranchers when I was growing up and know a lot of them,” Keeth said. “We still travel out there every year and help with the branding, so we’ve maintained contact with them.”
Keeth said he really didn’t want to get involved with handling financial donations. But, “the Farm Bureau from Iowa called me and wanted give some money but they didn’t know who to give it to. We even had a call from Alaska wanting to give.”
So he established a gofundme.com account.
“We formed a small board in Canadian made up of a judge, a guy that runs a feed store, two ranchers and myself to try and figure out the best way to distribute the funds,” Keeth said.
In three days the account has collected nearly $40,000.
Texas residents Cody Crockett, Sydney Wallace and Sloan Everett lost their lives in the wildfires, which left countless others without fences, cattle and more.
“This has just tore my heart out,” Keeth said. “I really feel connected to this — like it’s my own place that burned. One man we took hay to last Thursday estimated he lost 65 miles of fencing. That’s three perimeter fences, interior cross fencing and gates ... everything. That gentleman was 64 years old and third generation on that ranch.”
Keeth said the man didn’t know how he was going to rebuild.
“I spoke to a young man that was 31 and he lost 1,500 head of cattle,” Keeth said. “He just sat at my pickup and cried.”
Keeth said the young man told him that he had a three-month-old baby and he and his wife “didn’t know what they were going to do.”
“All of the calves they were going to sell are gone — now he can’t make the note payment on the ranch in November,” Keeth said. “The weight on the shoulders of these people is tremendous.”
How to help
Keeth gofundme.com: To make a financial contribution to wildfire relief go to http://gofundme.com/texas-panhandle-fire-relief
Peacock Feed: The local Parker County Sheriff's Posse collected money and hay for transport to the fire victims. Local posse member Blaine Peacock, owner of Peacock's Feed & Supply at 122 W Water St. in Weatherford is the drop off point for those wanting to donate money and supplies. The current need is for fencing supplies and materials. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.