The trio of good Samaritans started their St. Patrick’s Day at 3:30 am and then hit the road at 5 am, heading north. After a six-hour, 380-mile drive, they arrived at Canadian Animal Health and Nutrition, a livestock supply point for the wildfire relief effort, where they were to connect with folks who would take them to the Big Bull Ranch. Their load of feed and hay was part of the many donations from all over the state and country meant to help out ranchers affected by the March 6 wildfires.
Jules Soulé, 28, was accompanied by his mother, Barbara Soulé, and his brother, Joseph Soulé. They had traveled from Itasca in Hill County, between Waco and Fort Worth. Jules, who is deaf, initiated the drive to the Panhandle, his mother said. “He told me that he was coming up here. He said, ‘I’ve got to go where the fire is. I’ve got to go help them.’” Joseph said his brother has “always been the type to help … he’ll jump right in.”
Hill County rancher Steve Burt, who had delivered 15 truckloads of hay to CAH&N the previous Monday, alerted owner Wes Avent and Ag Extension Agent Andy Holloway about Jules’ mission. He said Jules had followed the story of the wildfires and all the donations for the ranchers on Facebook, “and he just got that yearn to help. It’s like I told somebody, he can’t hear, but he ‘heard’ and he did something about it.” Burt wanted to make the trip special for Jules and let him know he is appreciated.
The Soulés’ trailer and pickup were loaded with 30 square bales of coastal hay, nine bags of sweet feed that were donated by Jules and his mother, and 40 bags of range cubes donated by Itasca Cooperative Grain Company. Jules has been employed for about a year at the farmers co-op where he cleans the granary, welds on projects, and loads feed.
Avent arranged the last leg of the Soulés’ delivery run to the Big Bull Ranch, where operators Wes and Crystal Klein told them that out of 7,500 acres, only 100 acres had not burned. During the afternoon, the Soulés visited with the Kleins and were able to bottle feed some calves.
Once they were back in town, Avent offered his house for their overnight stay. The Soulés made a drive around the area—as far as Perryton—to see more of the effects of the fires. The next morning, they ate a “Bucket” breakfast and headed for home.
Avent said this was not the first time he’s offered his house to those who were making deliveries for the relief effort. “I’ve got to meet a lot of new people through this deal,” he observed. He also noticed that, after he had accepted a friend request from Jules on Facebook, the young man had updated his profile photo, where he was sporting a souvenir from the trip—his newly acquired Canadian Animal Health & Nutrition cap.