The students in Perry’s FFA program have had a tough weekend.
55 of their show pigs died in a barn fire early Saturday morning, but the Perry community is rallying together to help.
Hydee Kezar, a Perry High School junior, has a cow that was just feet away from the show pigs that died in the barn fire.
“I was worried about my cow and then I was thinking about my sister’s pig, because I knew it was her first year and she really wanted to show," Kezar said.
Kezar says it was a devastating loss not only for her sister and their family, but for the entire group that makes up Perry FFA.
“The more you work with them, you get a bond and the bond is very strong with that animal," Kezar said. "My sister already had a strong bond with her pig so when she found out, she was devastated.”
After hearing the news Saturday, people in the community jumped into action.
“It’s been tragic for the kids and the program. I mean, they do such great things," Todd McDonald said. "We just thought, how could we help?”
Owner of Kustom Tees of Middle Georgia, Todd McDonald, brought his family up to their warehouse Saturday morning and started making t-shirts to sell for $15 with all of the proceeds going straight to the Perry FFA program.
“You know, some people can’t make large donations family wise, so everybody will buy a t-shirt," McDonald said. "It’s $15 at a time. It adds up. It adds up quick and I’m sure the program will appreciate everybody’s support.”
Destiny Fitness in Perry is also pitching in. They’re hosting a yard sale in their parking lot on December 2, and they’re selling decals for $5.
Gym manager Tammy Wright says her son lost two pigs in the fire.
“My son has shown…this is his 7th year and he actually -- it broke my heart -- made a post on Facebook, all I have now is seven years of memory," Wright said. "You know, it’s devastating.”
And the owners of North to South Feed and Show Supply are holding a 50/50 raffle and are working to new show pigs donated to the students.
“It’s a lot," said owner Stacy Smyth. "It’s a lot from the breeders to reach out and almost everyone that we spoke to is donating the pigs. There will be no charge to the kids.”
Kezar says the community’s generosity means so much to her sister and the rest of the FFA program and they’re all looking forward to moving on from this.
“She’s just ready to move on and get a new pig and start over," Kezar said.
Perry Fire Chief Lee Parker says the State Fire Marshal assisted in this investigation, which is now complete.
Parker says they’ve ruled this fire undetermined, but says it’s possible that a heat lamp fell on some wood chips that were stored inside the barn. They do know, however, that it was not arson.
Perry FFA agriculture teacher Ashley Denton says was worth around $45,000, but they hope to rebuild one with improvements to prevent something like this from happening again.
She says that could cost between $65,000-$75,000.
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