Posted: Friday, September 13th 2013 at 12:31pm
Rising from the ashes, Elbert County FFA team headed to show
By Rob Moore Editor
A lightning strike started a fire that destroyed the Elbert County High School Livestock Facility on Aug. 31. (Photo/Rob Moore)
ELBERTON - The Elbert County FFA livestock team continues to pick up the pieces following a fire that destroyed their barn almost two weeks ago.
Elbert County High School Agricultural Education Teacher/FFA Advisor Michael Bilow said the Elbert County Livestock Facility was struck by lightning and burned to the ground around 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31.
The fourteen heifers at the barn escaped unharmed because they were on pasture at the time of the incident
"The contents of the barn are a complete and total loss," Bilow said. "We were busy preparing for the fall shows at White County, Gwinnett County Fair and Georgia National Fair. All - and I do mean all - show equipment is gone or damaged beyond repair. Even the six trim chutes."
The White County show is Saturday, Sept. 14, then the team heads to the Gwinnett County Fair, takes a week off and heads to Perry for the Georgia National Fair.
Bilow hopes the school will be able to replace most of the barn's contents through insurance, but said time is of the essence with shows upon the team.
Working with loaned and some donated equipment, the team will make its scheduled show appearances.
"We're going to be there," Bilow said. "We're not going to let something like this stop us."
Not only were the barn and its contents destroyed, but the agriculture program's tractor and bushhog, wheelbarrow, handtools (rakes, shovels, pitchforks, etc), as well as a battery charger and other items.
"It's tough," Bilow said. "But it is nice to see the nunber of people that have been calling and offering support, and giving help."
That support has extended beyond Elbert County's borders, and Bilow hopes between donations and insurance the program can be rebuilt even stronger.
"The school is definitely going to help us," Bilow said. "We've got a superintendent here that's brand new, and he's convinced me he's not going to let this stuff fall by the wayside."
Bilow said the team's short-term needs have been met from now to the Georgia National Fair in a couple of weeks, but donations are needed to help with show season beyond that.
One of those donations came in the form of $1,100 in donated equipment purchased for the team by the Lumpkin County FFA program's alumni group.
As of now, the December shows still are up in the air for the Elbert County team, Bilow said.
How does a potential donor know what the program needs?
"Right now the best thing for them to do is to call or email me," Bilow said. "At this exact moment in time, it's so fluid - things are changing pretty quickly here."
Bilow can be reached in his office at (706) 213-4100, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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