On the evening of Saturday, September 15th 2018, "Santa" Bill Lee was driving home from a Colorado Pack Burro Race with a stock trailer of 16 donkeys when the engine of his F350 ranch pickup truck caught on fire on Interstate 70 near Floyd Hill.
Bill pulled over and began to put out the fire, but it would not stop. His concern instantly transitioned to keeping the animals out of harm. With the help of good samaritans and a set of chains, the gooseneck trailer was dragged to a safe distance to save the donkeys, but the trailer was severely damaged in the process.
The animals were saved, but now they need help.
A truck and trailer are the lifeblood of a healthy ranch. Combined, these tools support the burros, reindeer, llamas, goats, highland cattle and other animals who live at Laughing Valley Ranch. The truck and trailer are required to transport hay and feed for the animals, as well as move the animals for Christmas and Colorado Mountain Heritage events as well as veterinary services.
"Santa" Bill needs your help, everyone's help, to recover from this costly roadside emergency and burro rescue. To care for the animals, as well as share them with countless of cheerful Coloradans at Christmas and Mountain Heritage events Bill quickly needs a replacement truck and trailer. The truck is a total loss and there was considerable EXTRA material damage that incurred to protect the animals. The trailer damage may not be repairable.
To learn more about "Santa" Bill's story, click here to view the CBS Denver 7 News story: https://denver.cbslocal.com/video/3936638-good-samaritans-help-santa-bill-donkeys-from-fire/
Colorado Department of Transportation cameras captured the fire and eventual extinguishing by the Evergreen Fire Department which can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/CBSDenver/videos/711843845848688/
The used cost of a reliable replacement gooseneck ranch pickup is roughly $20-25,000. The cost to repair or replace the ranch trailer could be anywhere from $1,500-$10,000.
Time is a priority concern as well. Not only is the truck and trailer required to care for the animals, but it is required to financially support the ranch as the animals visit humans in petting zoos, Colorado Heritage events, and soon the reindeer are scheduled to visit children and other guests at Christmas events.
Please consider donating that which you can, and share this page with everyone you know who embraces the spirit of Colorado and Christmas cheer. Every amount helps get Santa and his friendly animals rolling back to bring joy to others throughout Colorado.
- MAUREEN MCCORMICK-FORSTER
- golden mill
- Gloria Cheshier