Devastation left in the wake of Nebraska’s historic spring flooding sent Husker Katelyn Petersen into action.
With impacts to wildlife, animals, farmers and ranchers on her mind, the senior animal science major from Lyons scrapped her spring break plans and opted to lend a hand.
Starting with $1,000 from her own savings, Petersen purchased milk replacer to provide to farms that sustained losses. She also launched a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $2,500. A day later, she had raised $4,500 — enough to fill an entire trailer with needed donations.
Her first round of donations included food for dogs, cats, chickens and horses, along with corn, oats colostrum supplement, milk replacer, antibiotics, syringes and sedatives for other farm animals. She delivered the items directly to people she knew were in need and to complete strangers via drop off locations.
“Sometimes I would see cattle and a horse and I would just leave supplies by their mailboxes,” Petersen said.
Subsequent trailer loads included more livestock-related goods — salt and mineral blocks, all-purpose pellet feeds, fence posts, medications and veterinary supplies.
At one point, Petersen received a donation of an entire semi-trailer load of feed from a company in Iowa. Another donation provided goat feed to those who requested it.
Petersen’s desire to provide support was fueled by the immediate need in communities affected and her ability to act quickly. She knew large companies and organizations would make their way to the damaged areas, but it would take some time to organize.
“I wanted to do something then and was able to with being on spring break,” Petersen said. “The calf that lost its mother didn’t have a week to wait to get colostrum or milk replacer. That rancher or pet owner didn’t have time to figure out which roads he was going to have to travel to get feed or supplies, along with everything else going on.”