TORRINGTON – Goshen Irrigation District received a donation from the Art and Pat Damrow Trust to assist in the upcoming assessment fee increase.
Ted Bentley and Hugh Hageman, representing the estate, presented GID a donation check for $131,210 on Tuesday. This donation will assist in paying part of the cost to landowners for the upcoming irrigation season.
The GID board recently instituted a $5 per acre assessment increase for water for next year, triggered by the collapse of the Goshen Irrigation District Tunnel in July. The donation will cover half of the cost per acre for more than 400 landowners.
The Art and Pat Damrow Trust was set in place in memory of the long-term residents in an effort to assist people around the community. Throughout his 106-year life, Damrow was involved in construction and the agriculture industry. Damrow produced potatoes as well as corn and livestock. Purchasing land around Goshen county, Damrow improved irrigation on the properties and would re-sell them.
Hugh Hageman said the Trust Committee has been working to find something to do to with the money in the trust.
“I did have the privilege of working with and getting to know Art. I think he would be very proud,” Hageman said. “He was involved in ag production for over 100 years, and he always worked hard. He put a lot of pride in working hard – and he did work hard up until he was in his 100’s. He would want that money to go to people that are willing to work hard and spend their life producing in agriculture.”
Bentley, trustee of the estate and Damrow’s banker, agreed.
“Art and Pat had suffered some tough times in their life…as they got older and did accumulate some wealth,” Bentley said. “They wanted to kind of repay the community and people in need if there was a demand for that.”
The trust committee includes Bentley, Hugh Hageman of Ft. Laramie and Dewey Hageman of Jay Em. Bentley said the donation is for a good cause, and while there is still a great deal more money that is needed to get the community “healed up” from the collapse, it is a “token of the Damrow’s appreciation to the community. Hopefully we can do some future things.”
As a landowner in the district, Bentley said this year’s crop was around 50% of normal. Bentley mentioned as a banker and producer he felt for all the producers. With the collapse happening at the time of year that it did, Bentley said that the producers probably had about 90 percent of their investment into the production, but lacked the water to complete it, leading to the loss.