Ashland wildfire victims putting their lives back together

Ashland Strong. (Photo: KSN/Santiago Kahn)

CLARK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – It was one week ago when huge grass fires laid waste to large parts of Kansas. The bullseye of the range fires was Clark County in the southwest part of the state.

The fires burned about 85 percent of the county and killed thousands of head of cattle. Now, volunteers are working to help the ranchers who lost so much so quickly.

“And that’s the basement that burned,” said fire victim Mary Hodges. “Everything.”

Hodges and her husband, Jerry, have little more than a checkbook left from the fire.

“We lost pets. All of our equipment. Our trucks are lost. A shed is lost. Our house is sitting in the basement, smoldering.”

But for her and others still sifting through the ashes, the Red Cross is helping with their recovery.

“The process is a little bit overwhelming because you don’t know what to do,” Hodges said. And when you’re in the middle of it for yourself, you need assistance, like my children.”

The Red Cross organized a multi-agency resource center at Ashland High School Tuesday to help fire victims find financial, spiritual and logistical help.

“Definitely, several thousands of dollars that they’ve been able to get in assistance today which has been awesome and a huge blessing,” said Kristin Hines, Mary Hodges daughter.

But Jerry Hodges says some things are irreplaceable.

“We’ll miss our pictures and mementos. You know, those things we hold in our heart.,” Hodges said.

But Tuesday, for the Hodges, was a step forward.

“It’s been a long day. Tiring day, but it has been worth it,” said Mary.

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