The owners of the Last Chance Corral in Athens, Ohio, are usually the ones who do the rescuing: they're a charity devoted to the rehabilitation, recovery, and adoption of orphaned, abandoned, and abused foals, ponies, and horses. But after a storm rolled through in late June, it was now their time to be rescued.
Victoria Goss, Last Chance Corral co-owner, posted the news to Facebook on June 27:
"A devastating blow (pardon the pun)! Last night I was scurrying, setting up the barn to bring the horses in before a rapidly approaching thunderstorm. That's when Mother Nature rocked my world! Lighting struck a massive tree just feet away from the barn. It was as if a bomb had just been detonated. The ground shook beneath my feet, I felt like I was standing in a dinghy at sea. My teeth shook! I could actually taste the electricity. Water started pouring in from everywhere as the barn let go some pieces and parts settled under the tremendous weight of the tree. Luckily I hadn't brought the horses in yet. Yes, I was shaken, truly shaken but untouched physically.
Today I am still trying to wrap my mind around it...what do I do now...what? This farm sets on less than three acres of land, every inch of this place is vital to our work.
This iconic barn, the backdrop to so many pictures and posts, a rescue itself we saved from being bulldozed some 20+ years ago. We took it apart one board, one beam, one peg at a time. We preserved this bit of history and the rescued barn stood to rescue the unwanted. Today her future looks grim indeed. We will keep you informed as it all unfolds."
A fan of the Last Chance Corral saw this post and messaged the good people at OakBridge Timber Framing, who had built her home 20 years before, asking if they could help. Johnny Miller, founder and owner of OakBridge - renowned around the country for their exquisitely handcrafted mortise and tenon timber frame homes and barns, responded immediately. He took the four hour journey to survey the damaged barn, and decided that his family company should help: they would donate their time and materials to restore the barn.
On July 28, the OakBridge team arrived to dismantle the damaged sections, measure, and make plans. They then returned home, and got to work handcrafting replacement beams in their Loudonville, Ohio, woodshop.
During the weekend of August 3rd, they completed the work on the barn, including a new roof. Also in the barn is one of OakBridge's symbolic Purple Heart Pegs, a reminder of the importance of giving back...one of these pages is included in all of their structures.
Brought together by a bolt of lightning which felled a giant tree, there is now a bright light of goodness in Ohio: neighbors helping neighbors helping horses, and the Last Chance Corral and OakBridge Timber Framing serving as examples of the beauty and importance in giving, and caring.
Come watch us raise a frame.