Community works hard to help owners, animals recover from barn collapse

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 2:45pm

    UNION — Galaxy the cow is in a sling to allow her legs relief and to promote blood flow. More than two dozen cows and pigs waited hours to be rescued after a barn collapsed in Union during a rain/snow storm on January 26. Galaxy was the last living bovine to be pulled free; four other cows did not survive.

    The barn at Green Meadow Farm may have fallen in a few regular minutes, but the community response to the tragedy has been more like many New York minutes. Area farmers rose to the occasion as soon as daylight illuminated the 180-acre property. Since then, the community has been working hard to return the farm to its previous productivity.

    That ominous day, local farmers worked for several hours to help free the animals. In the days to follow, the community keeps coming back. Not always in physical form, but in various ways of support, including a GoFundMe campaign begun by Pam Savage, of Tucker Farm, that has raised $21,157, as of Feb. 2, 2023 at 1 p.m.

    “We have strengthened our connection with the Skehans through farming,” said Savage. “We grow organic seedlings and offer them for sale; they purchase from us. They sell pasture raised meats grown organically; we purchase from them. We share a love of homesteading, preserving, baking and more.”

    Green Meadow Farm owners Skip and Karen Skehan are a fantastic couple, according to Savage. Karen is a kind, loving, hard working lady. Skip would go out of his way to help anyone in need, and as the only workers on their farm, they work sun up to sun down, and beyond.

    “Having a small business in a world of big box stores, it is incredibly challenging and they have met that challenge head on through their hard work and ethical farming,” said Savage. “When we learned of the barn collapse, our hearts sank. Their biggest concern was the safety and well being of the animals. I can’t even imagine what they were experiencing.”

    Along with the obvious emotional challenge, a new internal conflict grew. Other people wanted a GoFundMe page created in their name. The Skehans expressed that they weren’t the only people in the world who were struggling. So, Savage had to convince them that their needs were worthy.

    “The cows lost, the loss of income from the farmers market that weekend … that just raises the stress level for anyone,” said Savage. “I explained that sometimes physical help is not needed or people don’t have the ability to do hard labor for a multitude of reasons but they may have $20 to go toward building back the dream farm.”

    After much hesitation, the Skehans decided to accept the GoFundMe page after so many generous people have asked.

    “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, so many people came in the pouring rain and helped for hours, some we know, many we did not,” said the couple. “We found cards in our vehicles, cookies on our door and hot meals brought to us. We could never begin to thank everyone. While it was a long and heartbreaking day, we are grateful. In the end, all pigs and the donkey are alive and well. We are humbled beyond measure.”

    The Skehans purchased the 779 North Union Road property in August 2019 after searching for their ideal plot for two years. Since then, they’ve toiled to maintain a business of 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef, and non-GMO pastured poultry and pastured pork.

    And though their business is their meat, their animals are also seeing the love. It was Jake Barbour Inc that hoisted Galaxy from her entrapment. And it was Aldermere Farm that came on Feb. 2 to spend time assessing her back injury.

    As the GoFundMe page says: “Farm life is daily with the care of the animals and can't wait for when, or IF, the insurance comes through to replace all the items destroyed, help close in the other barn to make it a temporary home for the animals, or pay the crews needed to clear out the destruction.”

    As word spread, donations and kind words kept rolling in.

    “We all believed in them, in their dream,” said Savage.

    Money raised will go toward replacing any equipment, tools, farm implements, care and well being of the remaining livestock, rebuilding a new barn, cleanup, etc.

    The back of the remaining barn is now closed in, courtesy of volunteers, by using some donated metal roofing from a local farm. That new barn enclosure also renewed life to a couple of doors that had been pulled from the rubble. 

    Just like Galaxy.


    Click here to view the GoFundMe page.


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