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Rockwall Unites: Supporting Texas Panhandle Wildfire Relief

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In a heartwarming display of community spirit and solidarity, Rockwall residents gathered at Sideways BBQ on Monday, March 18th, to support those affected by the recent wildfires in the Texas Panhandle. The event, jointly organized by Sideways BBQ and Wells Cattle Co., proved to be a resounding success, offering hope and assistance to those in need.

Battling Texas Panhandle’s Largest Wildfire

Firefighters have finally contained the fire after a grueling three-week battle with what has been noted as the largest wildfire in Texas history. This devastating blaze claimed the lives of at least two individuals and ravaged over 1 million acres across multiple counties in Texas Cattle Country. The Panhandle region, home to approximately 11 million cattle, hosts over 85% of the state’s total cattle population, as reported by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Celebrating Community: Tae Lewis Lights Up the Night

Attendees immersed themselves in delicious food, live music, and heartfelt conversations, demonstrating their support for wildfire victims. The evening began with an electrifying performance by Tae Lewis, a standout star from The Voice, whose soulful voice set the stage for an unforgettable night. Ricky Russell, the opening act, further energized the crowd with his musical talent, fostering an atmosphere of unity and support.

Insight from Commissioner Sid Miller

Tragically, around 7,000 head of cattle have perished due to these fires. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller informed CBS News, “We’ll likely be compelled to euthanize a significant number of cattle that, despite surviving the fire, are unable to recover.”

Inspiring Words from Lee Wells

A poignant moment of the evening was Lee Wells’ presentation, where he emphasized unity over division, sharing this story. “A guy messaged me, and he said who do you think started the fire? Do you think it was a Democrat or a Republican? I said sir, I haven’t in the last two weeks seen a Democrat or a Republican. I have not seen a black man or a white man. I haven’t seen a conservative and I have not seen a liberal. I have seen men and women who are Americans. I have seen Texans. I have seen neighbors helping each other.”  

Generosity Shines: Highlighting Relief Efforts

The fundraiser offered another layer of support for all the great work these past several weeks contributing to a current running total of $81,131 to aid ranchers and families affected by the wildfires. Additionally, the community’s generosity was evident through donations of grain and hay, totaling 179 tons of grain and 1,042 bales of hay delivered to the Panhandle in the past two weeks alone. Such overwhelming support led authorities to temporarily halt further donations to facilitate distribution.

Sustaining Relief Efforts: Looking Ahead

As the event concluded, a profound sense of accomplishment and gratitude permeated the air. Despite the challenges faced by Panhandle communities, the fundraiser underscored the resilience and generosity of Texans. Moving forward, ongoing efforts will provide assistance and resources to rebuild and restore hope for a brighter future.

Making a Difference: Recognizing Collective Action

pictured left to right; Clayton Cook, Lee Wells, Misty Gajewski and Josh Deaton

The fundraiser at Sideways BBQ wasn’t merely an event; it was a testament to the power of community and compassion. It showcased the transformative impact of collective action, proving that together, we can overcome any obstacle and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Join the Cause: How You Can Help

To contribute to wildfire relief efforts, visit

Every donation, no matter how small, makes a difference in supporting those affected by this tragedy.

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