May and June of 2019 have been tough. Anybody else feel the same? The weather has been hard on everyone, and it’s hit each of us in different ways. It seems that we are receiving all of the rain we prayed for during the droughts all at once, and I’m pretty sure we’ve been in a flood warning since early May. The 4-H food stand on the fairgrounds has flooded six times in the 14 years I’ve live here, and three of those floods happened last month. After the first flood in May, we began the clean-up process, only to have it flood again. And again.

The damage … the damage that has to be repaired in Cowley County is going to have a financial impact. Roads have been flooded and washed away. Crops have been washed away or sustained significant damage. Basements and homes have been flooded.

It would be easy to gripe and complain and whine about all the things we’ve lost and the huge amount of work it’s going to take to get everything running smoothly again. But it’s important to see the blessings in the storms. In the 4-H world, we’ve had to stop and take a break from getting projects ready for the fair, to work together and get the food stand ready for the fair. It’s been such a blessing to watch our 4-H families from across the county give their time to deep clean, mop, scrub, power wash, disinfect and paint.

We’ve witnessed crews from the City of Winfield work without ceasing to repair our local fairgrounds. This has been no easy task. Did you know: 700 dump truck loads of silt were removed from the west campgrounds of the Winfield Fairgrounds? That is 9,820 tons of silt or 19.6 million pounds. They poured 75 cubic yards of concrete south of the grandstands to repair the ADA parking damaged by floodwaters. Bermuda grass was sprigged in the campgrounds last weekend. Crews from different city departments have poured into making the fairgrounds “right” again.

That’s what we do in a community. We were not meant to do this life alone, but to come together as a community to “make the best better.”

I hear the question often, “Are we going to have a fair this year?” I always answer that we are going to have a fair. It will be an opportunity for our communities to come together. Will it look exactly the same as it always has? Probably not, but that’s the great thing about communities. We understand the need to grow and change and work together.

Cowley County 4-H invites you to join us at the fair Aug. 1-5 at the Winfield Fairgrounds.

Kelsey Nordyke is the 4-H Youth Development Agent at K-State Research and Extension, Cowley County. She can be reached at 221-5450 or (620) 441-4565.

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