This week's Serafini Nissan-Volvo Hometown Heroes are Thomas Ellis, Asst. Fire Chief Kip Herner, Eric Winsor and Stephen Winsor. The men were also honored with the Red Cross' Animal Rescue Award.

The Aukema's Farm, in Chenango Forks, was the setting for a tragic barn fire in October 2017.

As the Aukemas were busy milking cows that day, an idling tractor inside the building caught fire which quickly
engulfed their dairy barn.

Mrs. Aukema immediately called 911, but before their services arrived, neighbors and friends converged to help.
First to arrive was Thomas Ellis, a dear friend and neighbor.

Thomas was mowing his lawn when he saw smoke that he thought was coming from his sister's barn. As he was driving, he realized that it
was from the Aukema's farm and arrived just in time to assist with untying and chasing the cows out of the barn.

Thomas was also instrumental in coordinating subsequent clean-up activities.

Asst. Fire Chief Kip Herner was second on the scene, where he helped move baby calves out of the barn and then supervised the Chenango Forks Fire Department when they arrived.

Stephen and Eric Winsor, owners of a farm fifteen minutes from theAukema's, heard of the fire and headed to the scene.

By this time the cows were running up and down the road. Stephen and Eric chased them into a fenced pasture and began coordinating the loading of the cows onto other farmers' trailers.

Then they were transported for milking and eventually sold to other dairy farms.

Cows are the livelihood of every dairy farmer; if it weren't for these four heroes, the Aukemas would have surely lost it all. Forunately for them all sixty-five milkers and calves where saved.