Local organization helps Oklahoma horse farm hit by tornado

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By Stan Welch

When the massive F-5 tornado tore through Oklahoma last week, many homes and lives were destroyed. Not all those homes were houses and not all those lives were human. The loss of livestock and horses was enormous as well. One stable in particular, a thoroughbred farm called Orr Farms, lost more than a hundred thoroughbred horses, when several barns were literally exploded by the two hundred mile an hour winds.

Nicole Walukewicz, a local horsewoman and founder of the Palmetto Equine Awareness and Rescue League (PEARL), as well as an employee in the District One School administration offices, immediately began soliciting supplies and aid for the Orr Farm.

With the assistance of local businesses and other horse lovers in the area, Walukewicz and PEARL quickly raised more than $600 in supplies to be sent west later this week. Walukewicz said she was moved to get involved in part because during recent drought conditions, when hay was expensive and scarce, Oklahomans sent feed to their South Carolina brethren.

“This is a horrific time for those people. So many horses lost, so much damage done. They must be heartbroken because we all are. And on top of that, how will they rebuild and save their businesses and homes? This is literally the least we can do for them.”

Walukewicz sent along an e-mail to The Journal explaining what is needed and how anyone who wants to become involved can.

“P.E.A.R.L. is sending a box of basic medical supplies to the Orr Farm. We are sending rounds of quilted led wraps, vet wrap, elastikon, furason ointment, antiseptic spray, SWAT, betadine scrub, etc. If you keep it in your emergency medical kit, that’s what we are packaging. We would love to include donations from our area farms with a little note of support from the barns. If you are interested in participating please call and let me know if you want to leave a credit for PEARL at Griff’s and I’ll pick up a note to be included in the box or if you want to drop it by,” Walukewicz said.

“I have tried to make initial contact with the farm to ask what else they need that we can easily find and ship. We aren’t looking for extra things we have hanging around, only the items we know they need and can put to use quickly and out of necessity! Please join us in showing support for this farm, the animals, and the family devastated by this horrific storm. You can donate directly to P.E.A.R.L. by going to www.pearlsc.org and using the donation button – send me an e-mail and I’ll include that in the box with the supplies if you just want to make it easy! Remember, helping us, help them gives you a tax deduction for 2013!”

“During our drought these states shipped hay to our state. This is paying it back in a small scale. P.E.A.R.L. works closely with L.E.A.R.N. (Livestock Equine Awareness & Rescue Network) in the “Low Country” of SC. They are joining our efforts to send needed supplies or gift certificates to the proper local feed store,” she said.