‘It’s amazing how people come together’ | Texas non-profit providing disaster relief in wildfire-scorched Panhandle

Hay and fuel are among the most needed items by farmers and ranchers, according to Texans on Mission’s Randall Gardner.

SAN ANTONIO — More than 50 volunteers with a Dallas-based non-profit are providing help, hope and healing to wildfire-devastated communities in the Texas Panhandle.

Texans on Mission, historically known as Texas Baptist Men, has teams in Fritch, one of the cities ravaged by a series of wildfires.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire is the largest fire in Texas history, having scorched more than a million acres, according to state officials. The fire is 44% contained so far.

Randall Gardner is among the volunteers on the ground who has seen the destruction in Fritch, a community that’s been the site of natural disasters including tornadoes and wildfires over the years.

“We are representing God in this and so we just want to make sure that we are doing what he called us to do,” Gardner said. “It was on the south side of Fritch that was hit mostly. We have about 40 work orders right now that we’re starting to work through as far as people that are needing help with homes that were destroyed.” he added.

Volunteers have been working to clear foundations of debris where homes once stood while trying to salvage any items such as furniture or anything else that could still be used. 

Gardner said the goal is to leave a clear slab where they can end up moving another mobile home in or they can start to rebuild.

The wildfires have scorched more than a million acres of agricultural land, destroying crops and leading to the deaths of thousands of cows, according to Texas Department of Agriculture officials. Gardner stressed one of the biggest needs right now is hay and fuel for ranchers.

Texans on Mission came prepared. 

“They were getting hay in, they were getting feed in but they were having trouble getting fuel to the tractors to keep them fueled and so we were yesterday spent the day out with the trailer providing them fuel,” he said.

Through tragedy comes resilience. Texans on Mission alongside other organizations, plan to be there for the wildfire-impacted communities for the long haul.

“It’s amazing how people come together,” Gardner said.

To learn more about Texans on Mission and how to donate, go here.

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