Heroes in Blue Jackets: Local FFA Students Embrace Orphaned Calves in Aftermath of Devastating Fire

Mar 27, 2024

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On February 26th, a broken powerline downed by high wind, is speculated to have ignited the Smokehouse Creek Fire, which swept through the Texas panhandle (among other fires) with over 1 million acres burned, two people killed, thousands of livestock lost and over 500 structures destroyed.  It was the largest wildfire in Texas history costing over four million dollars of damage.  

It didn't take long though for help to arrive in all forms.  Among those efforts was an organization designed to help calves orphaned and badly burned from the fires.  FFA chapters from all over stepped up to take in several calves each to help nurse them back to health.  

Hooker FFA in Hooker, Oklahoma, was one of those chapters who reached out to an organization called the "Orphan Calf Relief Program".

This program is spearheaded by Jessica Reed.  "The Orphan Calf Relief Program is to be a resource for ranchers.  We will take care of your babies and then give them back," says Reed in an RFDTV Interview.  "It is a program where we are being a resource for ranchers in Oklahoma and Texas that have gone through wildfires and have calves that are orphaned due to mothers passing during the fire, have udders that are too burnt that they can't care for them.  Then, we bring them in, we foster these babies, we have donations coming in where we are taking care of all of the supplies, all of the milk replacer - anything these babies might need.  Vet care, we've got vets that are offering services, giving us advice that have went through this.  And then when the ranchers are ready, we're gonna give them back.  These babies, they're not ours.  We're not taking them in to keep.  They are to go back to the ranchers when they are ready.  It's free.  100 percent free.  Last time this program ran in 2017 during Starbuck fire, there was no penny spent.  Nothing.  People just have a heart for this and it really shows."

If you would like to help or find out more information, please visit:  Orphan Calf Relief Program 2024

Thumbnail photo credit:  Tonya Alm

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