W. V. Beef Relief update: More Farm Bureau members join effort to aid flood victims

That small group of farmers who took it upon themselves to begin the West Virginia Beef Relief effort has grown, thanks in part to two Ohio Farm Bureau members.

Don and Denise Piwinski read about the effort to help West Virginia flood victims in the last issue of Our Ohio magazine. The Lorain County Farm Bureau members are downsizing and they thought some of their household items might be of use.

“I told Don we could pack a bunch of stuff and give it to them,” Denise said, “so we called Eric (Thomason, West Virginia Farm Bureau and co-founder of the effort).”

While Thomason was appreciative, he said that wasn’t what was needed. However, what was needed was a truck to take several thousand pounds of meat from Ohio to West Virginia.

Rick Heffelfinger, an Ashland County Farm Bureau member who had made a previous donation, made another one (1,000 pounds of sausage), as did Dave and Beverly Duma of Duma Meats in Mogadore.

A long-time Portage County Farm Bureau member, Duma said when he saw the story in the magazine he knew he had to help.

“The Lord’s been very good to us,” Duma said. “He’s given us more than we could ever ask for or need. We’re in business to help other people. This is why we’re here.”

The Dumas initially donated 5,000 pounds of chicken. To date they’ve donated 7,000 pounds of meat to victims in various communities who are still recovering from the June flood.

The need in West Virginia “is legit, I know that,” Duma said. “Anytime we get an opportunity to do something like this, we want to get on board. I just love to give; it’s what we do.”

So instead of household items, the Piwinskis offered to rent a 16-foot truck and haul 6,000 pounds of meat to Thomason and the rest of the beef relief team for disbursement in hard hit areas of the state – Clay, Birch River and Richwood.

And people were waiting for them when they came.

“There were probably 30 or so people waiting for the truck on the streets (of Richwood),” Don said. “At least a quarter of the meat we delivered was (distributed) before we left. We were there about an hour.”

The couple’s day started before dawn at Heffelfinger’s Meat Market in Jeromesville for pickup and ended late back at home in LaGrange, but that was fine with them.

“It was very worth it,” Don said. “It was an awesome experience.”

Denise agreed, adding that she thought it was “so neat that these farmers would do all of this (to help).”

One person who wasn’t surprised the coordinated effort came to fruition was Thomason.

“Heffelfinger’s, Dumas’ and Piwinskis’ contributions are all huge,” Thomason said. “But Piwinskis’ contribution was less surprising to me. I told more than one person that if God had in mind to bless us with that volume of meat he certainly must have in mind a way to get it to us. I was actually somewhat expecting someone to call.”

For more information about the effort, visit the West Virginia Beef Relief Facebook page. You can contact coordinator Eric Thomason at [email protected] or 304-516-9509.

Featured Image: Portage County Farm Bureau members Dave and Beverly Duma of Duma Meats donated thousands of pounds of meat that went to flood victims in West Virginia. Right: Making the trip to deliver the 6,000-pound load were Farm Bureau members Don and Denise Piwinski of Lorain County. Pictured from left are beef relief co-coordinator Eric Thomason of the West Virginia Farm Bureau, Don Piwinski, Mike Murphy, Tim Woods, Josh White, and Denise Piwinski.Become and Our Ohio Supporter