Stansbury Park store employees, locals rally together to help stranded farmers

Mar 4, 2024, 7:18 PM

STANSBURY PARK — The Tooele County community came to the rescue of a couple of strangers Saturday night.

Two farmers hauling a trailer full of animals got stuck on the slick interstate. Wind and snowstorms caused several crashes and major back-ups on the interstate Saturday.

Lisa Fernandez, the assistant manager of the Tractor Supply Co. store on Beaman Way,  got a call from the driver around 6:30 p.m.

“They were out of goat food, and they needed to know if we had any hay,” she said. “They were on the road for about two or three more hours.”

Fernandez said the farmers were hauling a trailer full of 50 goats and 25 baby goats, or kids.

“He was from California on his way from Minnesota, picking up the goats,” she said.

Help needed to milk goats

She said once they arrived at the store, the farmers said they needed any help they could get milking the goats.

“They didn’t plan on the weather, they thought they’d beat it,” she said. “He had said that the last time they were milked was about 5:30 in the morning, Saturday morning, and they were trying to get to a safe place to pull over to relieve them because they were overdue.”

Though it was nearly closing time, she decided to stay and help, and called her manager, Lara Berry, to let her know what was going on.

“I called about four of my closest team members to the store,” Berry said. “Every single one of them said, ‘I’ll be right there.'”

Store employees also posted a call for help on social media.

“Within an hour, we probably had 30 people in this parking lot,” Berry said. “Strangers helping strangers.  It was amazing. It was so touching.”

Relying on connections

Store employee Paden Jolley grew up raising goats. He reached out to his connections, and several of them also showed up.

“Most of my friends that I know who were in FFA with me, they were happy to come down and help,” Jolley said.

Several people relied on Jolley for assistance because they had never milked an animal before.

“Not everyone knew,” Fernandez said. “They just wanted to help. It was comforting to see that so many people were willing to help no matter what it took, even if they didn’t know what they were doing.”

By 11 p.m., She said they had fed and milked every goat. She expects the chore would have taken several more hours had they not had so many people show up to help.

“The gentleman was brought to tears because of all the help that he was getting,” Fernandez said.

Berry said she hasn’t seen anything quite like this community response.

“Every single one of my team members, they have animals, you know, from dog to horses to chickens to everything themselves,” she said. “They’re just good, genuine people. And the community I mean, this is the community’s livelihood.”

Fernandez remains in touch with the farmers. She said they made it to California safely, and they’re thankful for the community’s help.

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Stansbury Park store employees, locals rally together to help stranded farmers