Adults are not the only ones who are helping those affected by the wildfires that hit Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado this March. 4-H and FFA members, as well as others in Oklahoma realized they could help the victims of wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres in northwest Oklahoma.
“During the week of Oklahoma Youth Expo this year we had a lot of people approach us about wanting to do something to support their fellow people in agriculture from northwest Oklahoma that suffered through the wildfires,” said Tyler Norvell, Executive Director, Oklahoma Youth Expo.
While leaders of the Oklahoma Youth Expo did not know what to do right away, Senator Eddie Field’s daughter, Tristan Fields, decided to donate one of her three show steers to the wildfire cause.
“I know that if I was in this situation that they would help me,” Fields said.
The decision to donate a steer was approved and led to a special auction, which raised $30,000.
Then a couple of generous matching donations doubled the gift to $60,000. According to Oklahoma State University, “this amount was thanks to a $15,000 matching donation from members of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association. The Coalition of Oklahoma Surface and Mineral Owners matched that with another $15,000 for a total donation of $30,000. The auction itself raised another $30,000.”
Beyond the dollars raised, this auction taught 4-H and FFA members even more about giving back and helping those in need.
Blayne Arthur, Executive director of Oklahoma 4-H Foundation said, “I think it teaches our 4-H members that when they see a need, that they need to step out and find a solution for that.”
These kids showed how possible it is to make difference in other people’s lives.
“That’s what you do, when someone is down you bring them back up. I am just grateful to be that in community and part of that organization where we don’t even know them and they are paying it forward to us. That’s just really close to my heart.” Shared Rayli Cunningham from Laverne FFA.
Norvel noted how that is the “Oklahoma way” – to come through to help those in need.
“Livestock show folks spend the whole year competing against each other, but when tragedy strikes we are one team, we help each other.”