We have a driver named Jake who saw something on Facebook about the massive fires out west in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. So far 30,000 cattle have perished, and the count might grow to 60,000 by the time it's over. Jake said seven human lives have been lost as well, people trying desperately to cut fences so the cattle can escape the ten-story flames. Awful stuff!
When Jake got word about what was going on, he knew he needed to do something. After hearing about the gillions of miles of fencing that burned, he thought of the old utility poles sitting in our yard." Those poles would make a lot of fence posts," he thought. So, he called Dan (our owner) and asked if he could saw them up and haul them to the ranchers.
"Absolutely," Dan said, "We'll donate the use of the trailer, and get you a backhaul when you get the load off." Then Jake sweet-talked his brother Grant, and A.J. (another driver) into spending seven hours on a Sunday sawing utility poles into fence posts, and this weekend he's heading west on his own dime to bring the posts and maybe even help the ranchers with some fencing.
I asked Jake what it was about this project that captured his heart. Obviously, it had something to do with the cattle industry, but it seemed to go deeper. "They are special people out there," he said, "They still tip their hat and say 'hi' ... They'd give their neighbor their last dollar to help them protect their property. That's just how they are. It's how they've always been. It's the best of the old west!"
Then Jake told me about a mega-load he hauled to Mead, Texas several years ago. The poles he was hauling were 130' long, and while he was in transit, the delivery location changed, forcing him to park his truck and cool his heels at a little motel for a week while his permits were being revised. While he was in Mead, he befriended some ranchers, who took him under their wing and made him part of their community. "I learned something from those people," he said, "They're different ... They're not focused on themselves." He smiled as he thought about those friends, and said, "Man, that's been quite a while ago. I guess something happened to me back then that's just now coming out!"
There are many types of fires. My favorite fires are the ones that are lit when someone inspires us be different. Sometimes we don't even know the fire's been lit! It just kinda smolders below the surface until something causes it to burst into flame. I think that's what happened to Jake. Now he's inspiring us! Way to go, Jake!