From despair to hope in Tinmouth
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | April 12,2013
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Farmer John Marro stands in front of a new barn being built with the help of townspeople in Tinmouth. He lost his barn and more than 60 livestock in a fire last month.
TINMOUTH — Almost one month ago, John Marro thought his lifelong dream of owning his own dairy farm was coming to an end when flames consumed one of his barns and most of the animals, feed and equipment inside it.
But thanks to an outpouring of support from the community and donors from around the region, Marro said he’s looking forward to raising a new barn later this month.
He has been able to keep his cows fed and operation running thanks to contributions of everything from cash to a tractor to hay bales to a truckload of corn silage.
“The morning of the fire I was so scared. I thought I needed to bow out. I told my wife that financially we were never recovering from it,” Marro said Wednesday.
“Now, it’s all different. I keep thinking I’m dreaming and I’m going to wake up one of these days. With the support and backing of the community and people from the towns around us we have a future. It’s been tremendous.”
The 63-year-old farmer had no insurance on the 78-foot-long barn that burned to the ground during the early hours of March 11. Much of his small operation was destroyed, including at least 1,200 bales of hay, 42 piglets, 11 sows and nine heifers and dry cows.
His 23 milking cows were penned in another barn and Marro managed to save seven piglets and a heifer from the burning building. But his tractor was consumed in the fire.
Starting the morning of the fire, other farmers and residents of Tinmouth began coming to the aid of Marro and his wife Diane.
Feed arrived for the cows, a Danby farmer drove his tractor through a snowstorm to loan the vehicle to Marro and the outlines of a plan for a community barn raising at the farm were started.
Now, those plans are almost complete, according to Tinmouth resident Cathy Reynolds, who has been coordinating the relief effort.
As of Wednesday, Reynolds said $4,702 had been collected from donors inside and outside the community including a $1,000 cash donation left in a donation jar at a business in town.
“There’s an angel out there somewhere,” Reynolds said.
She said she hopes the relief effort can come closer to its minimum $7,000 goal this weekend when a tasting supper will be held at the Tinmouth Community Center. That event, which begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, will feature the best of Tinmouth’s cooks, Reynolds said, with a variety of dishes including chicken pie, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, goulash, baked beans, salads and a variety of “famous” Tinmouth pies.
The event will also include a 50/50 silent auction and a bake sale, she said.
Efforts have also moved forward with the purchase of materials for the new barn.
Poles and trusses are expected to be delivered to the farm within a week and the siding for the barn has already been unloaded at the site where much of the groundwork, electrical preparations and plumbing have already been put in place, Marro said.
The main support poles for the new barn have also been raised, he said.
A date hasn’t been set for the barn raising, but Reynolds said planners are hoping to set a time for the event around the third week of this month.
For that occasion, Reynolds said she has already heard from contractors, carpenters and residents interested in donating their arms and backs to the labor of love.
What Reynolds needs now are cooks who can help feed all the workers after the barn is raised.
“We’re going to have a lot of people to feed,” she said.
Anyone interested in donating to the effort or volunteering time, services or materials can call Reynolds at 446-2928.