For the past few weeks, Johnnie Pettigrew’s tractor trailers have not bern carrying their normal cargo of oil-field or wind turbine equipment. They have been hauling hay … to farmers and ranchers in northwest Oklahoma who were devastated by recent wildfires.
Pettigrew said his crews have made between 20 and 28 trips to places like Vici and Dewey County, carrying tons of hay.
Thousands of acres of land burned during recent wildfires. These deliveries are a way to help, Pettigrew said.
Farmers and ranchers in central and eastern Oklahoma have been willing to donate the hay. They just needed a way to get the hay to those in need.
Pettigrew offered his trucks as an option.
“These are all big round bales. They will have enough to feed their cattle for at least another 30 days,” Pettigrew said of the farmers.
Pettigrew said he never hesitated to help.
“My family comes from farm and ranch families. We’ve been in need before. We’re country folks and I feel like this is what God intended for us to do. To help out,” he said.
The most recent load was shipped Thursday from Warner.
He said he had delivered hay from Checotah, Warner, Newcastle, Newalla, Choctaw, Luther, Arcadia and El Reno.
“I would hope someone would help us out if we got into a jam. The good people of Oklahoma would. Oklahoma is a good state. We’ve got problems, but deep down, people are willing to help out,” he said.
Annie Jo Gilbert, the assistant manager at the Woodward County Events Center and Fairgrounds, said the donations have been a life-saver for area ranchers.
“The deliveries are really incredible. A lot of our farmers and ranchers have lost a lot of their grass. They are donating hay from across the state to farmers who need to feed their cattle and have nothing to feed them” she said.
Gilbert said she is not surprised by the generosity.
“I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not. Whenever you get a group of farmers and ranchers with the same goal, nothing surprises you,” she said.
Offers of donations have come from as far away as Louisiana, as well as the far northeastern United States and south Texas.
“It is hart-warming to see the amount of support the people of northwest Oklahoma have received,” she said.
Pettigrew said it’s a privilege to help out.
“This something we were meant to do. … As long as I have a truck and a yard, if they need a load hauled, we’ll go and get it. It’s just what we wanted to do. It’s what people do,” he said.