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Students Volunteer To Help Wildfire Victims

When people think of spring break and students they think of exotic places and rest. This is not the case for a group of St. Francis students that volunteered their time this week. The group of eight students spent the first two days of their spring break helping to rebuild after the wildfires near Ashland, Kansas. Several more students volunteered but couldn't attend because of space restrictions. The two half days of work were filled with manual labor and supporting the local agriculture industry in a time of incredible need. The Starbuck Wildfire burned over 400,00 acres in Clark County alone according to an article in Kansas Ashland. The fire left many farmers and ranchers with complete loss when it came to their way of life. Aid has poured in from around the region and country as the agriculture industry and rural America have banded together to support their own.

Wyatt Hilt, Seth Hilt, Emma Hackler, Cody Baxter, Alondra Gomez, Brady Dinkel, Shadryon Blanka, and Cameron Sulewski arrived in Ashland Monday afternoon and met the farm family they would be helping. The tired workers stayed at a local Christian summer camp that night before returning to work until noon on Tuesday. The group was paired with the Harden family that has lived on the same land since 1884 and had damage to a section and a half of their land. The neighboring family lost 500 head of cattle with losses estimated at one million dollars leaving the Harden brothers feeling fortunate despite their losses. The group worked with the two brothers to tear out old fence and wind up the wire so that new fence could be installed. Students walked miles of fence detangling the four stand barbed wire and removing t-posts. "It was easier than I expected it to be." Gomez reported. While none of these students have personal connections to the area, they all felt the need to get out and do something for a community that isn't very different than the one they live in. When asked why he volunteered, Wyatt Hilt said he wanted to "help a community in need and have fun over break." Hackler said, "it felt good to help others that are going through a tough time." In a world that is filled with negativity and news about a selfish and unmotivated generation, it is refreshing and inspirational to see students take action and give of themselves.

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St. Francis 100 College Street St. Francis, KS  67756

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