Community comes out to raise a barn from the ashes
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | April 21,2013
Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Dozens of volunteers gathered for a barn-raising event Saturday at the John and Dee Marro farm off East Road in Tinmouth. The original barn was recently destroyed in a fire.
TINMOUTH — After flames destroyed John Marro’s barn more than a month ago, he and his wife considered shutting down their 12-year old dairy operation.
But while watching dozens of volunteers raise a new barn for him Saturday, he said, the community just did not want to let him.
“This is amazing. It’s beautiful,” the 63-year-old farmer said. “What do you use for words to describe this?”
The threat of wind and rain and the lack of power did not stop close to 50 volunteers from building a new 2,400-square-foot barn on the same site as the old one. The noise of electric saws and hammers hitting planks at JonDee Farm was a welcome sounds for Marro and his wife, Dee.
“I am going to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming and maybe push a wall to make sure it’s there,” Marro said. “Everything I was trying to achieve (at the farm) was gone and just as fast it’s coming back.”
He added, “If I had to build this alone it would have taken three years.”
Marro lost 42 piglets, 11 sows, nine cows and at least 1,200 bales of hay in the fire. He was able to save seven piglets and a heifer.
Ray Pratt, lead contractor for the barn-raising and one of the first people on the scene the night of the fire, said that when he saw the barn go up in flames, he did not see the end of a business but instead the start of a community project.
“If we didn’t do this, it wouldn’t feel right,” Pratt said. “For us builders, it feels even better.”
The poles were up before volunteers started putting together breams and roof rafters. By lunchtime, the barn was starting to take shape with one of the side walls completed and the metal roof due to go up next.
“That’s when we’ll start flying,” Pratt said. “It will look like we actually are moving.”
Cathy Reynolds, who has coordinated fundraising for the farm, said the effort has received amazing support over the last month — ranging from labor and materials to food for a recent fundraising supper. She said around $15,000 has been raised to help the family and more is still coming in.
“This is what Tinmouth is about,” she said.
Dee Marro said she was overwhelmed by the help they have received from the community since the fire.
“With all the bad that is happening in the world, this is heartwarming,” she said during lunch Saturday.
Her husband said the outpouring of community support started the day after the fire and has not stopped. He said friends and neighbors dropped by with hay for the cows and tractors for him to use, asking for nothing in return.
“It’s like I am dreaming,” John Marro said. “I am not sure how I am going to show my gratitude.”
Donations for the family can be sent to Cathy Reynolds at 143 Channel Road, Tinmouth, VT 05773.