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Barn Raisin'

Timeless tradition, even in this day and age

POMEROY–In the aftermath of a devastating barn fire just a week ago, the Community Bible Church of Dayton and a passel of friends and neighbors put together a traditional barn raising, something my parents and grandparents–and generations of farmers preceding them–would have done for their neighbors under similar circumstances.

Approximately 50 adults plus children came to the Robert and Ruth Yutzy place at 410 Emerson Road in Garfield County, just outside the Columbia County boundary, Saturday, March 25, to build a barn. In addition, some additional projects were completed, and a meal planned and provided by the Community Bible Church Hospitality Committee was shared.

The Yutzy's main animal barn was lost to fire on Monday, March 20, 2023. Three goats were lost and others sustained burns, three 4-H steers were severely injured, and one milk cow was singed. Recovery from a fire incident is generally a slow process, but over four dozen adults; friends, neighbors, church members, and strangers, plus children of all ages, came together for a good old-fashioned barn raising.

"This is what community looks like," said Ruth Yutzy. "I feel so thankful, loved and blessed."

Saturday morning was cold, but people came anyway, to help bring normalcy back to a family who lost a big part of their working farm. They came with equipment, tools, ladders, food, and their strength, both physically and spiritually.

By mid-morning the weather was warmer, making more-agreeable working conditions. Part of the group erected a 24-foot by 24-foot shelter; they had enough men to walk up a 40-foot wall. Others were tasked with recovery duties and while clean-up took place at the original barn site, some painting was done to finish a project, the yard refreshed and a garden readied for spring planting. The Community Bible Church ladies planned and provided lunch, which included good old-fashioned hamburgers, for the many who came to get this family up and going again.

"We started a little cold this morning but the weather was nice by midmorning and the wind died down just in time for the metal to go up," said Ruth Yutzy. "I am blown away by all that was accomplished. A 24-foot by 24-foot shelter was built from the ground up, metal sorted from the barn, nails picked up, footings hauled off, dirt hauled out, yard seeded–I am beyond excited about this one. My flower beds [were] cleaned out, my green house and garden cleaned up and ready to till," Yutzy continued. "Hamburgers were made and lunch arranged and provided by the ladies of Community Bible Church, the painting project I started in our rental the day of the fire was finished. My heart is so full."