Published: Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 --- 9:50 p.m.
A good auctioneer knows how to get people to spend their money. But Saturday, no one in the crowd at the Happy Barn in Hollandale needs convincing.
A fundraiser at the farm will benefit the community of Yarnell, Ariz., where a wildfire earlier this summer destroyed much of the town and killed 19 fire fighters battling the blaze.
"I don't know if words can ever express how these people are feeling. We're trying to take a little bit of that pain away, I guess," said Mark Gilbertson, Hollandale's fire chief.
Proceeds from auction items, as well as food and ticket sales will all go to Yarnell to help the community rebuild much of the damaged homes and infrastructure.
"i know some people that live in Yarnell," said Taylor Farm owner Richard Taylor. "And I went up there after the fire and they took me around and showed me the area. And it was devastating and it was something I wanted to do. And the people down here just got involved in it. They helped out on it. We thought we could help a little town like we are. We're a small community and we thought we could help another small community."
Taylor is hosting and sponsoring the event, along with help from the Hollandale and Blanchardville fire departments. Around 25 other fire departments from across the country, including Arizona, traveled to rural Wisconsin to support the cause and remember the fallen fire fighters.
"It was our brothers that were lost," said Ben Palm, the chief of the Yarnell Fire Dept. "We see the hurt from the families and what they're going through. It weights on us I guess all the time."
Despite the tragedy, acts of kindness like Saturday's give those who've been through so much hope things will get better.
"It's just amazing," Palm said. "It's beyond anything that we could imagine. Everyone's moving forward. We're trying to help with the healing."