Hibernians Helping Hibernians: Wildfires
By Joe Casey
AOH Ohio State Organizer
During the March meeting of the AOH Irish Brigade Division in Medina, Ohio, I mentioned a group of At-Large Hibernians I’ve been working with, who are actively trying to get a division formed in Hutchinson, Kansas (Reno County). The first weekend of March brought wildfires to their area of central Kansas and two of the Hibernians are firefighters who worked the fires and assisted in helping people flee their homes.
The entire group of Hibernians there started collecting bottles of water and chap-sticks to aid the firefighters and also worked to collect food, clothing and money for those affected by the carnage. They also were helped by the only other AOH division in Kansas, the Fr. Donnelly Division in Johnson County, over three hours away.
When the fires were finally under control, the damage was announced. One man perished and several other civilians and firefighters received burns that had to be treated at the local hospital. Over 12,000 acres burned with 36 homes being completely destroyed. In addition, 92 outbuildings and 110 vehicles were destroyed. After I told this story of the Hibernians and their plight (over 1,000 miles away), the Medina County Division unanimously voted to send them a check for $500 to aid their relief fund in helping people who have lost everything. This act of kindness is a great example of following our motto of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity.
If anyone would be interested in donating to the area relief, the United Way of Reno County has set up a link to donate to those affected in the community. RENO COUNTY VOAD | United Way of Reno County
Some of the Medina County Hibernians have been assisting Feeding Medina County at their food distribution location in Brunswick, Ohio for the past several months. They donate their time on the second Thursday of each month with the distribution being held on the grounds of a closed school.
The food recipients stay in their cars, register and then drive to where the bags of food have been prepared. Division members assist in the packaging of the food, directing traffic and distribution of the packages into the vehicles.
[Pic Desc]: L to R: Joe Gill, Scott Manley, Dave Manley, Joe Casey and Tony Manley.