Today is Thursday, July 20, 2017

Answering the cowboy call

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There's an unwritten oath in the cowboy world.

"You don't ask questions, you just come together, step up and help," said storeowner Jennifer Burns. And that's exactly what she and friend, Shea Hutsenpiller, intend to do.

Burns, who owns Lonesome Cowboy on South Cumberland in Lebanon, got a call from Hutsenpiller, who operates Hickory Hills Livestock Rescue, shortly after news broke of the wildfires destroying close to two million acres in the Texas panhandle, including West Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma.

"She had friend who has been affected and asked if I wanted to drive to Texas," Burns recalled. "I said, 'I'm on board.'"

Once word spread about what they were doing, donations rolled in.

"There were so many people around here that wanted to help, but they didn't know how. Now with us being the vessel out there, the outpour of donations has been incredible," she said. "We started with one truck-and-trailer going, and now we are up to two truck-and-trailers and a semi-truck and trailer going."

The semi-truck was donated by Bridgestone/Firestone, which is also funding the cost of fuel and a driver.

"The semi will be loaded down with 500 to 600 square bales which have been donated. A dozen round rolls will be on the personal truck-and-trailer, and the other will have human supplies and fencing supplies," Burns added. "Everything has been lost."

Several local businesses stepped up to assist, including Cahoot's Dance Hall & Honkytonk. One of Cahoot's owners, Jonathan Manning, said last Saturday night the staff and customers raised nearly $500 to help with fuel costs.

The ladies, along with Burns' husband Jason, will leave early Friday morning to make the trek. Normally, it would be a 13-hour drive, but with the trailers it will be closer to 15 or 16 hours.

"Everybody just wants to help, and it's amazing how the community has come together for this cause," she said. "With us being in the agriculture community, it hits close to home. It could have easily been us."

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Hickory Hills Livestock Rescue, Jennifer Burns, Lebanon, Lonesome Cowboy, Shea Hutsenpiller, Texas, wildfires
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