On October 11, 2015, a wildfire devastated a large area north of Casper, including the area where my nephew, Barry Schulenberg and his wife, Kelli live. While their house was not one that was damaged, they did not escape unscathed. They lost a shed with some lawn equipment in it, fifteen or more trees, a flatbed trailer, and about eight cords of wood, which was enough to heat their home for the coming winter, just to name a few of the things. While insurance will reimburse them for some of the loss, it will not cover all of it, nor will it even begin to reimburse them for the many hours spent cutting all that wood the first time. And the hardest thing to get back…peace of mind.
People would call them lucky, that so much of their property was spared, but I don’t really think anyone who lost anything in that fire, that took 10,000 acres, 12 homes, a number of animals, and several other structures, considers themselves lucky…except that they made it out alive. I still don’t consider that luck. I believe it was the prayers of the people of Casper and others around the nation that kept the loss to the relative minimum that it ended up being, compared to other large fires.
In the aftermath, many people have donated money and other needed items to those who suffered loss that dreadful day, and many will continue to do so. There is no way for me to talk about them all, but they know how much the people who they have helped appreciated it. Help after a loss never goes unnoticed. It is a show of love, kindness, and compassion that can never be repaid. People helping people…the giving spirit. It is what people do for those in need.
As for Barry and Kelli Schulenberg, a special family and friends benefit took place yesterday, when a dozen people converged on my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Ron and Rachel Schulenberg’s place, where thankfully, Barry and Kelli still had some wood, waiting to be cut. Those dozen people spent most of the day cutting, loading, and unloading the ten cords of wood, that now sits where the first eight cords had been at Barry and Kelli’s place. I know that they already feel much better about the coming winter, because without all that wood, it would have been a much more expensive winter in the heating department.
The things that Barry, Kelli, and the other fire victims lost in the fire will at least partially be replaced, but the thing you can’t put a value on is the helping hands of the people who stepped up to help you rebuild your life. The fire victims lost a lot of things, but things can be replaced. Nevertheless, cleanup, replanting, re-cutting of wood, and so many other things that had to be done after a fire, take time and effort. I have to give a lot of credit to anyone who helped to put the lives of the fire victims back together. The kindness of those helping hands was a blessing that will never be forgotten.
My niece, Machelle Moore has been married to her husband, Steve for fifteen years now, but when she first met him, the one odd thing she noticed was that just abut everything he had was labeled SRM. I’m not sure if Machelle knew why everything had SRM on it, but when her sister, Susan came to his place, she immediately asked what that was. He said that it was his initials,. The girls thought that was funny, so to this day, they call him SRM. When he was born, his family called him the 10 Guy, because he was born on 10/10, and weighed 10 pounds. No wonder he’s so tall now.
Steve is very into guns, and his dream is to have a gun building business someday. He and my Uncle Bill would have gotten along great, as they are both gun nuts. Steve doesn’t hunt, even thought he likes guns and the mountains, but I can relate to that. I would much rather hunt wildlife with a camera than a gun. I am not against hunting, but I just don’t think I could do it myself.
Steve loves the mountains. He is very much a homebody, and doesn’t like traveling very much, but for the mountains, he will make an exception. In fact, for the mountains, he will almost be the first one out the gate. When Machelle’s parents were getting a new trailer, Machelle wanted to buy their old one. Steve didn’t think he wanted to do that, but she insisted. Once they had it, and they could go camping in the mountains, Steve was sold on it. I suppose he thought she was going to want to travel all over the country, but when he found out that she wanted to go camping in the mountains, he was totally on board. He likes to leave it up in the mountains all summer, and then go up every chance they get. For someone who didn’t really want a trailer, he has sure changed his view. Steve did make and exception this year, when he and Machelle did travel to Yellowstone Park this summer, and all I can say is, “Steve, what happened? She got you out of town!! Are you going to be ok, after such an awful experience?” Ok, just kidding. I know you all had a great time. You aren’t a total hermit, just a mountain man, and Yellowstone Park is in the mountains.
When I first met Steve, he was a clean shaven young man, but these days…like most mountain men, he likes to sport a beard. That and the love of the mountains really does make him a mountain man in my book. I honestly think he could be one of those mountain men who move out to the wilderness, and come to town once a year. That isn’t to say that Steve is anti-social, but he really doesn’t like to travel, and if Machelle was ok with it, I think he would be one of these people who cold like that lifestyle. I can relate to that sometimes. Bob and I love to hike in the mountains, and when you are out there, you are very free from all the hustle and bustle of the city. Sometimes that might feel really nice, but I don’t suppose I would like it on a daily basis. Steve, on the other hand, just might. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! I’m glad you are a good sport. Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece Jessi, recently married her best friend, and a wonderful addition to our family. We all like Jason very much…especially his humor. Little did we know, however that Jason would become so special to us in another way, so very soon. You see, Jason is a Highway Patrolman, and no, this is not a story of getting out of a ticket or anything like that at all. This is a story with far greater meaning than anything as trivial as a speeding ticket. This is a story of things that really matter.
Yesterday, my son-in-law’s dad and his girlfriend were heading out to go camping. They were pulling a travel trailer behind them. It was a beautiful day, and they were really looking forward to the weekend. Unfortunately, before they even got past Outer Drive, disaster would strike. The trailer blew a tire, and began to fishtail. The trailer began to bounce along the road, and almost tipped the truck over when the trailer jack knifed and pushed the truck into the oncoming lane of traffic. The truck went up on 2 wheels and then came back down hard. Finally the trailer disconnected from the truck and rolled several times along the road, before hitting a delineator post and coming to a halt in the ditch, completing the destruction of the trailer.
When my son-in-law got to the scene, not knowing what to expect, he was immediately met by his new cousin, Jason, who let him know that his dad and girlfriend were ok. Shook up, but relieved, Kevin was then able to help his dad through this terrible ordeal. When my daughter Corrie arrived, she was practically in tears. Jason immediately told her not to worry, they were just fine, and he had been speaking to Kevin’s dad and girlfriend, so he was sure. Corrie immediately broke down and cried, after which Jason hugged her and comforted her. He showed her where to park her vehicle, and then took her over to see them.
Accidents are so traumatic, and especially when it is your loved one who is involved. Your nerves are raw, and the tears come very quickly. You can’t think, and when it is also hard to find out any information, it is even more traumatic. What a great blessing to have Jason be there when we needed him most. God certainly knew what he was doing when he brought Jessi and Jason together…and not just for Jessi. Thank you Jason!! What would my kids have done without you!!