Joe Hollander watches as Montana outfitters unload hay donated
Hollander and his friends back in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Jack Rich, front, and Joe Hollander with a semi-tractor load of hay. Hollander and his wife spent a week at the Rich Ranch this summer and wanted to help out when the fires caused financial loss with many outfitters.
by Gary Noland
September 7, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
"Joe Hollander says he can't pound a nail in a board, he can't build anything, but he can make things happen," Jack Rich joked in appreciation while looking at the two semi-trailers loaded with 45,000 pounds of round hay bales parked at the Rich Ranch Tuesday morning.
Things were bustling at the Rich Ranch. Monday afternoon fire officials had lifted the order closing most national forests, and crews at the Rich Ranch were busy packing gear, now that they could return to the woods at noon Tuesday to set up base hunting camps.
In the midst of all that bustle, trucks from five other outfittersWhitetail Ranch, WTR Outfitters, Larry Kenny, Tom Ide, and Copenhaver Outfittersstarted arriving to unload the hay off the semi-trailers.
And watching it all was Joe Hollander, a Michigan lawyer turned real estate developer of affordable housing projects, who said he didn't know the first thing about hay, but had found out after talking with Rich that hay was in short supply locally and expensive to haul in. The Rich Ranch had already lost around $70,000 in bookings with the forest closures and pack and trail horses that would normally be eating grass in the Bob Marshall, had depleted the drought-diminished pastures at the ranch.
Hollander said the fires in Montana were on the news every night. He and his wife, Betty, had vacationed at the Rich Ranch earlier this summer with their 15-year-old daughter. Only Joe returned on this trip, riding with two retired Teamsters, Clay Starkey and Lance Mulder, in rigs pieced together by Joe's contacts in Rotary International. They covered the 1,700 miles from Kalamazoo, Mich. in three days, arriving on Labor Day at the Rich Ranch.
"I understand Jack Rich's great grandfather was a teamster driver of horse-drawn wagons, so it's kind of fitting we had Teamster drivers and arrived on Labor Day," Hollander laughed.
It might have been easier to send a check, but this is the kind of thing Hollander enjoys. He once arranged for $100,000 in donated prescription drugs to be flown to Nicaraguan hurricane victims.
For hay for Montana outfitters, Hollander turned to his Rotary Club president, Marcellus, a farmer who donated the hay. Then he got another Rotarian friend, Charles Vanzoen, who provided the tractor haulers, but had no trailers. A contractor friend, Jack Wolohan, active in the Michigan Safari Club, lined up two trailers to go with the tractors. Then two retired truck drivers signed up for the trip.
"Everything came together in the spirit of the moment," Hollander said, though he couldn't convince his 80-year-old father-in-law, a retired truck driver, to make the trip.
Some things are not possible for Joe Hollander, but not many.