Transcript: Limerick Reaches Out to Touch Someone Far, Far Away

Sanford News, April 12, 1994

Limerick Reaches Out to Touch Someone Far, Far Away

Photo caption: York County 4-H Beef Club members Aaron and Betsy Carroll (pictured here) of Limerick and Rebecca Ridley of Shapleigh help send a load of 350 bales of hay to Iowa farmers to help aid in the flood relief efforts in the midwest.

by Ellen Todd

LIMERICK – While it certainly is not uncommon for Limerick people to reach out to help others in need, a story of this kind came to my attention recently that certainly did have an extraordinary element to it. A story of two young residents, with the help of a friend in Shapleigh, who invested considerable time and effort to reach out across hundreds of miles to people they had never met to offer some much needed assistance.

When Aaron and Betsy Carroll were watching the news one night back in February, a story on the devastation of the farmland in the midwest from last summer’s floods particularly interested them. They discussed the issue with their parents and decided to try to do something to help some farmers. “They lost everything,” says Betsy. Coming from a farming family and as members of the York County 4-H Beef Club, they could understand better perhaps than many people what it meant.

Upon getting in touch with the southern Maine branch of the Maine Grange organization, betsy and Aaron learned that farmers in the flood area were in need of hay and that [sic] some had already been shipped from Maine. So they decided they would try to put together a load themselves, with the help of fellow 4-H member Becky Ridley of Shapleigh, and ship it to Iowa.

They set about soliciting donations of hay and money for the cause. They managed to collect $150, enough to buy 75 bales, from local businesses, relatives and friends. They also collected more than 250 bales of hay. Some people donated up to 40 and 50 bales, Betsy says, which, she adds, is a considerable donation since hay is pretty scarce this year.

The three were able to pull together a full load of about 345 bales of hay which would be supplemented with hay from other areas in southern Maine and shipped on a flat-bed truck to Iowa.

In the meantime, the three organizers felt they wanted to make the whole effort a little more meaningful, both to them and to whoever received the hay. So they managed to get the name of the leader of a 4- club in Montezuma, Iowa. The club members were thrilled not only to be receiving the much-needed hay, but also that Mainers had taken the time to contact someone at the other end. Larry Iberson and his 4-H club agreed to meet the truck and help distribute the hay. The shipment will go mostly to families of the 4-H members for their cattle, horses and cows.

Work on the project did not stop after the 345 bales were collected – they still had to be transported to Standish where they would be loaded onto another truck and combined with a load coming from Leeds. As luck and Maine weather would have it, March 22, the day the hay was to leave the Carroll’s barn in Limerick, southern Maine was hit with snow and rain. Because wet hay can turn moldy, transporting it in an open trailer was out of the question. So a small portion of the load went to Standish (covered) that day, and the bulk of it had to be taken up to Leeds the following day.

There it was loaded, by local residents and grange members, onto a flatbed truck that holds 500 to 600 bales. Between the York County 4-H club and a 4-H club in Union, the truck was filled. It set off on March 23 on its two and a half day journey to Montezuma.

The load was the sixth to be sent from Maine to the midwest and was coordinated by David Burnham, who is the head of the Maine State Grange in Southern Maine.

Among those in Limerick who contributed to the effort, both in hay and cash donations, were Jerry Cote, Anthony Carroll, George Carroll, Greg LaPage, Rick Paradis and the Limerick Supermarket. Donations also came from Sanford, Shapleigh, Springvale, Standish, Waterboro and New Hampshire.

Return to 4-H Fix: The Great Hay Relief of 1994