“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers.”
That quote from Fred Rogers, or Mr. Rogers as some may know him as, has been going through my mind the past few days.
If you read the story about the Jeremiason fire, you would have noticed there were many Minneota, Ghent, Taunton, Porter and Marshall firemen that came together despite extreme conditions to help the Jeremiason family put out that fire. Anytime there are multiple buildings, animal and human lives at risk, it makes the situation that much more urgent.
“It took a lot of courage to go into a burning building,” said Minneota Assistant Fire Chief Brad Minnehan.
I agree, it took a lot of courage. One look at those photos and scary memories of our family’s fire came flooding back. It was the same group of firemen that helped put out our fire on another warm, extremely windy day. Hats off to you firemen!
On Sunday morning when the thunderstorm came rolling through, I thought that we were extremely lucky. We received the rain we needed, but none of the nasty storm damage. However, many places weren’t so lucky.
Carlson Dairy is a family farm located near Pennock and they milk 1,700 cows with 1,600 heifers on site. The storm hit their facilities just after 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, while they were milking. High winds, and possibly a tornado, tore through their barns forcing the operation to relocate 310 milking cows out of their total of 1,700. Heifer facilities were badly damaged and heifers had to be relocated. Shortly after, a post asking folks to step-up and help the Carlson family spread like wildfire on social media.
People were offering to take in cows and heifers all across the upper Midwest and people headed to Pennock to help in anyway they could. When my family and I had breakfast on Sunday morning, we briefly discussed offering to take in some heifers, but by that time temporary homes were already found.
The cows were moved to another operation, which had just recently completed a new facility. Heifers were taken to five different feedlots in the area. For the health and safety of the animals, the Carlsons wanted to keep everyone together as much as possible. This farm that took in the cows is located near Worthington and according to farmer Rita VanderKoi on her blog, “We are currently providing emergency housing for 310 milking cows that had their barn severely damaged by a windstorm/possible tornado near Pennock, Minnesota, two days ago.
Caring for these Carlson Dairy cows is an honor for our family.” So far, no animals have died though a few were injured with cuts and abrasions. Though the roof collapsed in some areas, it was held up by the steel headlocks and freestalls, allowing the cattle to survive. Five years ago during a storm, we had a roof completely torn off one of our calf barns. It was amazing all the calves were ok.
We had just sold some cattle so we had an empty barn that we were thankfully able to temporarily move the calves in.
That was chaotic for us and I can only imagine what the Carlsons are going through. “It kind of gives me goosebumps,” farmer Carl Carlson told KSTP News. “It’s really amazing. I’ve seen pictures of this happening at other farms and you hear about people coming and helping, and I don’t think you get it until it happens to you.”
Can you imagine pulling rafters off your animals? Or seeing hundreds of people show up, some you don’t know just to help? Can you imagine how very lucky it is that the dairy from Worthington could take in all those cows just like that?
The true spirit of rural America is at its finest. In this time of disaster, there were so many helpers that cared enough to help in anyway they could. I’m hoping that both Jeremiasons and Carlsons are able to fix their barns quickly and get back to doing what they do best.