Vet med students raise money for ranchers affected by wildfires

The Large Animal Veterinary Medical Club has raised over $4,000 for ranchers affected by recent wildfires. Officers pictured are: Front row (left to right) Kara Sutphen, Kellie Sholes, McKenzie Leu, Rachael Granville. Back row (left to right) Club Adviser Bruce Brodersen, Ben Eilerts, Heidi Black, Tanner Kremke.

May 2, 2017

Lincoln, Neb. — Recent wildfires across Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas have devastated the ranching industry. The fires have destroyed millions of acres of grassland, and left thousands of cattle dead. Now, students in the Large Animal Veterinary Medical Club at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are lending their support to those affected by the wildfires.

The club acted quickly after learning of the wildfires, and organized a fundraiser selling “Vet Med” hats. During the course of the 11-day fundraiser the club sold 366 hats, raising over $4,000 for wildfire victims.

“We saw a lot of news coverage about the wildfires and we thought it was important to help out,” said Rachael Granville of Springfield, a student in the university’s Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine. “Someday those ranchers are going to be our clients so we care about them and want them to be successful.”

The club sold hats to students, faculty and staff in Nebraska, and their PPVM partners at Iowa State University. In addition, the club extended the fundraiser to vet med schools in the states affected by the wildfires: Colorado State University, Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University. The University of Illinois and Mississippi State University also contributed to the fundraiser.

According to club president Kara Sutphen, funds raised by the club will be given to the Working Ranch Cowboys Association. The association has established a wildfire relief fund to provide financial assistance to working ranchers and cowboys suffering significant hardships due to the wildfires.

“We feel that donating the funds we raise to the Working Ranch Cowboys Association is better than us trying to buy supplies and send it to the affected areas because these people are going to need financial assistance for a long time. The association has historically done a lot of crisis relief, and they have operations set up for people to apply for the funds,” Sutphen said.

The club is currently contacting several state veterinary medical associations to see if they will match the funds raised so far. 

The Large Animal Club is a club for PPVM students at the university. The club organizes meetings and wet labs to expose students to a variety of topics focused on large-animal medicine. Additionally, the club awards scholarships to three PPVM students annually. 

Haley Steinkuhler
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources