Cleanup is still underway in Amber after a tornado touched down there just over a week ago. It damaged roofs and trees, but at one home it also took the lives of more than a dozen chickens. Now, some fellow animal lovers are offering assistance.
Every two weeks the neighboring Bridge Creek community flocks to their local poultry swap.
“We trade chickens, sell chickens…talk about chickens and other animals too,” says Travis Turner, a regular participant.
Turner has come to love the birds, so he was saddened to hear a family in Amber lost 18 of them in the last storm.
“We all went to the storm shelter,” he recalls, “and when we came out I seen that on the news somebody lost their chickens.”
Turner went out to find the victim Roy and his family the next day and discovered their roof had also blown off, leaving the interior of their home exposed to the elements and drenched in rain.
Turner was moved to lend a helping hand. Roy told him, “He had chickens before, and then his daughter had cancer and they had to get rid of their chickens. Then she went into remission so they got chickens again, and now they lost them and a chicken coop.”
While it does not cost much to buy new chickens, only about $5 to $20 each, the coops they live in can be quite costly. Turner's hobby just happens to be building and selling the hen houses. He held a raffle last weekend to raise money for the materials, raking in $425 plus $300 out of his own pocket.
“All my friends here and everything, they all pitched in, was willing to help do what the community does to help our neighboring community when they need it,” Turner says.
The finished product took 18 hours for Turner to build, and has space for plenty of new chickens, which Turner also delivered to Roy's family, free of charge. He says, “They’ll be able to enjoy their hobby again.”
And he knows the next time severe weather comes to Bridge Creek, neighbors in Amber will return the favor.