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Heroic First Responders, part III

Published: 6/26/2013
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Editor's Note:
Michele De Vinney Schmoll continues her three-part report of the large animal response to tornado devastation in Moore, Oklahoma. She provided assistance, networked, solicited donations from many companies, and interviewed many individuals on the ground in Moore.

Michele writes:
It was gut wrenching to hear Dan Mullinex's stories and it often brought tears in my eyes. I knew then I had to put it on paper and share it. I spoke to Dan Mullenix, Kevin Trimmell, Amanda Eggleston, and Dr. McCook. I learned from each of them a little piece of what they were doing so I put it all together in the story you have here.

Read Part I
Read Part II

By Michele De Vinney Schmoll

For the next two weeks the OLFR Team worked helping capture, doing triage with veterinarians and taking the survivors to different facilities based on need.
  • They delivered hay, feed and supplies to wherever was needed.
  • They took the time to follow-up with residents they had already helped checking on them seeing what they needed.
All were so happy just to shake their hands, hug and thank them. One such follow-up on May 28 was a blessing for a very thankful elderly couple that had 11 horses that needed to be moved because their farm was damaged beyond repair, without water and it was dangerous for the horses to stay in that area due to debris and downed fencing.
OLFR moved them to Heritage Place where they could be tended to until the owners were back on their feet.
Kevin is so thankful to help and is always on the lookout for people in need. Taking care of the surviving horses and giving them what they need which is often comfort. When the second round of tornadoes hit May 30, he told me he and his son rushed back to Heritage Place to be with the horses because he knew they would be scared because the weather was fierce.

Watch news report on OLFR

One mare was so scared they rode out the storm with her in the stall to help keep her calm. It was a frightening experience but they would do it again. They are still without power at their facility but everyone is safe and that is what matters.
Kevin with a smile in his voice tells me, “It makes you feel really good about the nation to see all the support and items coming in to help. It is just amazing how much people are helping those that have lost everything.”
They still need feed, bedding and medical supplies (syringes, cotton rolls, elasticon, vet wrap, and needles). They were just surprised today, June 5, with a donation of fly spray from Absorbine, W.F. Young, Inc. thanks to Sean Black. They are hoping that other industry leaders will also assist in this way.
Nothing is to small and everything is so appreciated.
Amanda shares this bit of new wisdom, I now have a much better plan for tornadoes as a barn owner. We are getting all of our horses micro chipped. We are also ordering halters with our barn name and phone number on them in case horses get off the property.“I have learned a lot over the past couple weeks and now have a much better plan for tornadoes as a barn owner. We are getting all of our horses micro chipped. We are also ordering halters with our barn name and phone number on them in case horses get off the property.
"I cannot say thank you enough to everyone that has donated and helped out the numerous vet clinics and feed stores. It is wonderful to see the look of relief and thankfulness on the owners faces knowing that their horses are safe and their vet bills are covered.”

Dan’s final thoughts, "At any given moment tragedy can strike. I'm very thankful that God has pulled such a great group of us together so we can make a difference. I also want to thank everyone in the community we met that offered a kind word or assistance. I tip my hat in Thank You to the veterinarians who were treating injured livestock. A great thank you to Kristie Bellemore with Bluebonnet Feed for feed donations. A special thank you to Stolen Horse International aka and their volunteers who raised money for fuel and expenses.”
Oklahoma First Responders’ goal is to have a plan in place for natural disasters for all of Oklahoma. They are working with government agencies to outline a future plan in case a disaster like this strikes again. “We all know that the reality isn’t if, but when and how bad? Next time we will be ready,” said Dan.

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Read Part I
Read Part II

View Reader Comments:

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6/28/2013 Joe
Great job reporting, Michele. And thanks for featuring the OLFR efforts, NickerNews!
7/1/2013 Peggy
Thanks!!! This really makes you think. I have a sister in Wisconsin who is a horse owner. She also has many neighbors who own horses, including one who has a large training barn. Preparedness for your large animals at a time like this is not something you give enough thought to. But now, thanks to all of you, I plan to pass this information and story on to her to share with her fellow horse owner/horse lovers. Again, Thank you
7/9/2013 kim rentz
This gives me a whole new persoective on not only getting my horses a way that they will be identified so thst I can get them back when mother nature decides to show us her strength but it a lso shi us just how much people come together in times when it really counts.

"Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses" - Elizabeth Taylor