In the days immediately following the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma May 20, the Hagyard Pharmacy and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute staff collected medical and grooming supplies, tack, and monetary donations to help the equine tornado victims.
Hagyard posted a message on its Facebook page soliciting donations through the pharmacy. In response, Hagyard received both walk-in and mailed donations and posted letters of support to share with their clients. One letter, from a young girl named Bella in Minnesota, accompanied a shoebox containing grooming supplies, a halter, and a lead rope.
In her letter she said: "I was saving them for my horse (someday), but I think this is more important."
"We had a lot of help," said Ashley VanMeter, a pharmacy sales associate. "When we posted the initiative on Facebook a lot of our partners and vendors took our post and shared it—like the Kentucky Horse Park and United States Equestrian Federation and the places that we deal with everyday—so we reached a lot more people than just our clients that we work with directly."
"We've received donations from all over the country," said the pharmacy's Nancy Englund. "There has been a tremendous response."
Bitsy Thompson, who works with Hagyard, said the word was "spread among the farms we deal with, and the support was everywhere. It just opened up."
Brook Ledge Horse Transportation stepped up to provide free transport from the Hagyard offices in Lexington to the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Science, where many of the injured horses are being treated. The shipment is scheduled to depart June 11.
Dever donated 200 bags of shavings; Franklin-Williams donated bandages; Kinetic donated 1,000 bottles of wound spray; McCauley's Feeds in Versailles, Ky., donated two tons of Alam feed, which is formulated for nutritionally challenged horses and those in physical recovery.
As for gifts from individuals, "people just cleared out their barns—buckets, feed tubs, halters, brushes—you name it," Englund said. "As for monetary donations, we've received $16,500, which is going directly to the Oklahoma Relief Fund. Some donations were even credit card purchases from the pharmacy—at cost—for things like antibiotics."