Say thanks in a time of tragedy

Texas Farm Bureau

Traveling around the state this year I have seen one of Mother Nature’s greatest furies. Wildfires have consumed much of Texas and have not discriminated on where or when to spark. North, South,

East, West and Central—all parts of Texas are burning.

Since the wildfire season ignited in mid-November, more than 12,779 fires have burned more than 3,251,365 acres. Those numbers increase every day.

I have talked and visited with people of all demographics who have suffered losses from these wildfires. I have seen the burnt carcasses of cattle, piles of ash where homes once stood and the lifeless land the wildfires have left behind. But out of these dark days comes a bright spot: the men and women who serve in the volunteer fire departments across our state.

Did you know the 30,000 volunteer firefighters account for 70 percent of the firefighters in this state? I didn’t until a couple of months ago.

While the headlines and breaking news around the state focus on the losses, pain and suffering these wildfires have caused, I think we need to take a moment to focus on what wasn’t lost.

While we hear plenty about the 544 homes and 1,477 structures that burned, what we don’t hear about are the

19,413 homes and 9,314 other structures that were saved due to firefighter efforts. You can’t put a price on the pain and suffering of those who have suffered loss. But it’s hard to imagine how much worse it could have been had it not been for the heroic efforts of our state’s firefighters.

Let’s not forget that those efforts come from a majority of firefighters who are volunteers. They put their lives and livelihoods on the line to protect their neighbors. In many cases they’ve spent two to three weeks on the frontlines non-stop. Want to hear more about why they do it? Read

The Heart of a Volunteer.

In any case it’s time to say thank you.

County Farm Bureaus are taking notice—recognizing the commitment and dedication of these local heroes and offering financial support to local departments. Texas

Farm Bureau is matching county Farm Bureau donations to individual departments on a $3 to $1 basis, up to a maximum of $1,000 per fire department. These donations are examples of Farm Bureau membership dues at work in local communities. Rural and urban

Farm Bureau members are making sure the sacrifices of volunteer firefighters do not go unnoticed.

Donations are starting to pile in. Events are being held across the state to raise funds.

The effort couldn’t come at a better time as these volunteer fire departments are in desperate need of cash.

Trucks have been banged up and burned; equipment has been destroyed. Let’s not forget the fatigue on the bodies

Systemsand spirit of these brave men and women.

Monetary donations willconcreteensuretankthese local fire departments have theTanks funds to keep rolling. But don’t forget a simple thank you. Show these ST750-local2C,heroesST1000,gratitude for a job well done.

1500-2C, 1500-3C, AK5B#

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