Student volunteers help Ashland rancher clean up wildfire aftermath

ASHLAND, Kan. (KSNW) – For some students, today is just an ordinary school day, but not for a group of students from Chaparral High School in Anthony.

The student volunteers helped a rancher who lost his barn in last week’s wildfire.

“Our barn burnt, and they helped load all the tin out of it this morning,” said Ashland rancher Mark Kaltenbach. “Then I took pictures of the contents, what’s left, for the insurance people.”

The students picked up and sorted through the rubble for a family they didn’t know.

“It feels pretty good just being able to help these people,” said high school junior Ryan Rucker. “They’ve lost a lot, so it’s nice to be able to help.”

It took the boys about four hours to clean the barn, then they worked on the damaged fencing, rolling up wire and pulling steel posts so that new, donated fencing could be installed later on.

Kaltenbach said that Cargill had a trailer load of free posts and wire in town on Tuesday.

It was a lot of hard work, but the students said it was the right thing to do.

“We just came out to help all the people that were fire victims over here,” said Rucker. “Just help in whatever they need us to do.”

It’s been a rough week for Kaltenbach and his family, but he said he appreciates all the students’ hard work today.

“It’s humbling experience to have so many people want to help you,” he said. “They’re good kids.”

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