Rapid City Offers Helping Hands
In October, the Cottonwood Fire blazed through the surrounding communities of Rapid City and left a path of destruction. For most, the fire caused significant damage of lost acreage, facilities, cropland, and more. As the communities begin to clean up, the Rapid City team became a part of those efforts, assisting with repairing a customer’s fenceline.
“For anyone who has ever done fencing work, or put up fencing, you know the grueling, labor-intensive work it is. I’m very proud of how our team rallied behind these cleanup efforts, this customer, and our community. The work was not easy – but incredibly rewarding for those involved,” commented Sid Houdek, General Manager.
This article below was included in the Cattle Business Weekly.
Give thanks for helping hands
By Codi Vallery-Mills, Cattle Business Weekly
Amazingly the November weather in western South Dakota has been mild and open, allowing for ranchers impacted by October’s Cottonwood Fire to aggressively pursue cleanup and repair efforts.
Now the week of Thanksgiving, Philip, S.D. ranchers, Cliff and Mary Poss, have a lot to be thankful for as multiple individuals and businesses have lent them a helping hand.
Cliff Poss says they are fortunate to not have lost cattle like some of his neighbors during the fire, but still the recovery effort has been a little overwhelming at times. With miles of fenceline lost, three buildings destroyed, hay burned and all the winter grazing incinerated, it can make for a bleak outlook. Poss is staying positive though and asserts it’s not a crisis situation. “We are taking it day-by-day. We have homes for all the cattle in the short term and the recovery help has been wonderful.”
Among the help have been employees of RDO Equipment Co. in Rapid City. For several days in mid-November, 15 employees from RDO began trekking the 90 miles to the Poss ranch to help rebuild burned fenceline.
“The help from RDO has been fantastic. I can’t thank them enough. Quite a few different people have helped out and it has really made an unbelievable difference for us,” Poss says.
Throughout the time at the ranch the RDO volunteers cleaned up and finished over 2-miles of fenceline. In addition to donating time, RDO donated the use of a John Deere 333G Compact Track Loader, a John Deere 320E Skid Steer Loader, a John Deere 3039R Tractor, and a Danuser SM40 Post Pounder.
Ag Account Manager, Patrick Olson, helped put in some of that new fenceline. He says the company believes it is very important to give back to the rural communities that make up the key stakeholders for the company.
“For our team here at the Rapid City store, we recognized Poss Ranch was in need of support, time, and resources, all of which we could provide,” Olson says. “Our customers become friends, even like family to us, so when a tragedy like the Cottonwood fire happens, it affects us all. We were pleased to partner with the community to help out this effort.”
Olson says RDO staff is especially fortunate that RDO Equipment Co. Leadership supports efforts like the Cottonwood Fire recovery by providing every employee with paid time, every year, to use for volunteering efforts.
“Being part of the recovery effort was a very fulfilling and humbling experience for our team. Some of our employees had not yet seen the magnitude of the damage and it was a real eye-opener,” Olson says. “We feel very thankful that we could contribute to the project and it ended up being fun and a great team-building exercise for us.”
The list of RDO employees that volunteered at the Poss Ranch ranged from parts guys to equipment technicians and also sales people and a service advisor. Those helping in addition to Olson included: David Delbridge, Seth Furhman, Bob Evans, CJ Lundin, Ryan Wiechman, Erin Frye, Nate Sonsteng, Jeff Sprunk, Chris Vaughn, Kyle Hargens, Bruce McConville, Tyler TenBensel, and Travis Roth.