OPSU Donation Drive

Mar 15, 2024

Natasha Eidson

Generosity sparks hope in the Texas Panhandle with a donation drive led by OPSU student Natalie Nordman

Amidst the largest wildfire in Texas history, one student from OPSU led a fundraising drive that raised over $30,000 in donations. Natalie Nordman, a junior at Panhandle State, knew she wanted to help the families, farmers, and ranchers affected by the Smokehouse Creek Fire. Her generosity spread far beyond the campus when her fellow team members on the Equestrian team and the OPSU Livestock Team received an outpouring of help and generosity with donations.

For Natalie, the journey was not just about giving back; it was about embodying the true essence of community. “My heart was led to start this fundraiser because the amount of loss that these families continue to experience is unimaginable. These families have worked all their lives to build a home to have it ripped away, which I wish no one had to go through,” she stated.

Natalie contacted Crazy House, a western wear store in Garden City, Kansas. With their support of over $20,000 worth of merchandise, the donation drive gained momentum and soon poured in—clothing, tools, feed, and essentials for rebuilding survivors’ lives. Donations also came from local businesses, local donors, churches, and organizations.

Dr. Julie Dinger, University President, stated, “I am filled with so much pride watching Ms. Norman’s determination and heart making this drive happen. Natalie and her teammates’ dedication and our community’s generosity define what makes the Panhandle special, our compassion and resilience.”

Dr. Crystal Tolle, Livestock Judging Coach stated, “I am very proud of Natalie Nordman and her efforts in organizing the donation drive for the wildfire victims, as well as the OPSU Livestock Show Team and the OPSU Equestrian Team for collecting contributions towards the victims as well as their livestock.” She continued, “We are Panhandle Strong, and we are good at supporting and assisting our neighbors through these challenging times. Their collective efforts undoubtedly make a significant difference in helping those affected by the wildfires.”

When traveling to drop donations off in Canadian, Texas, the group saw the harsh reality that was now this areas story. “On our way out to the ranch, we saw the carnage of the fires, from burnt livestock to what was left of houses after the fires. My heart continues to break for everyone, but to see the support coming from everywhere across the nation, including our community, was amazing,” said Natalie.

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