GREAT FALLS - The Blaine County Sheriff's Office says that two people have been charged in connection with "extensive" vandalism that happened in mid-August.
Jasper J. Wendland, 19, and Devon C. Nelson, 18, have been charged with several felonies and misdemeanors, according to a news release from Blaine County Sheriff John Colby.
The news release states, "there was an extensive amount of damage, hundreds of thousands of dollars inflicted on the farm equipment, wildlife, and land."
The Gasovda family says that damage on its property in southern Blaine County is believed to have happened on either August 17 or August 18.
After the devastating news hit the town, friends, family, and neighbors jumped in to help.
“It was shocking. It was numb. You go through so many emotions. Why would somebody do this?” said Cortney Gasvoda, the owner of the damaged equipment. “How do you even prepare for something like this?”
When long-time friend Arleen Rice heard of the devastating news, she wanted to be there for her friends.
“This is a community. They are such good, hard-working people. I couldn’t believe that something like this could happen.”
With thousands of dollars worth of damages to machinery and supplies that would cost the Gasvodas quite a lot to replace, Arleen knew that she had to do something to help.
“I couldn’t just sit by and let them go through this alone so, I offered to open an account so that our neighbors can donate money to help them. At first, you know, they didn’t want to accept anything because they’re so used to helping others. They're very humble, quiet, hardworking people. And I just said, you know, let people help that want to help because this is everybody's farm and ranch worst nightmare. I felt really compelled to try to do something to help them recover from this.”
And Arleen did just that, helping to raise thousands of dollars to help the family.
Cortney and her husband Brian are overwhelmed with gratitude for their friends, family, and neighbors that have contributed.
“I thank Arleen, for helping us. And it's very humbling. We have so much gratitude and appreciation for these people.” Cortney said.
It just goes to show that no matter the disaster, a community will stick together to help each other. When they say "ag strong," they really do mean it.