Many of you have asked about our friends and colleagues in Ashland, Kansas after the entire town was evacuated Monday due to uncontrollable wildfires ripping through the region. As Patricia Carney posted on Facebook: “I suspect many of us in the Godly Play world feel as though we have family in Ashland, Kansas! Prayers continue!”
We are grateful to report that all of the Foundation employees at Godly Play Resources are safe and their houses still stand. Godly Play Resources headquarters was spared, and the team is beginning to return to work. Your thoughts and prayers pouring in meant so much to Mike, Teresa, Connie, Teika, and all of our vendors and the professionals who serve the Foundation.
But the destruction to the area was significant. From our Ashland accountant Larry Konrade:
“Between 350,000 to 400,000 acres have burned in Clark County alone. Our land has been reduced to dirt and sand. That is nearly 85% of the county. Our ranchers are the most affected by this devastation. Thousands of head of cattle have been lost and all of their fences. These two things alone will easily run into millions of dollars of which most was not insured.
“The city of Ashland was somehow spared from burning to the ground. The only explanation for it being spared is a great volunteer fire department and Gods loving grace. There were no lives lost which is a miracle in itself. Thank you God again.”
The Wichita Eagle posted a series of photographs depicting the events and recounting the work Larry faced on Tuesday morning as the town came together to extend mercy and to grieve. It is worth a read to understand what our friends have come through this week. As we all know: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26).
Relief efforts continue, and plans are being put in place to rebuild what was lost. For years, the Ashland Community Foundation has supported libraries, schools, and the local hospital. In the wake of this tragedy, they now turn their attention to caring for their neighbors whose homes and livelihood have been devastated. All contributions to their efforts are greatly appreciated and will be put toward the great needs this community is facing right now.
Regan M. Schutz
Director of Communications