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A Styrofoam cup, a tractor, and some good neighbors save Oklahoma family’s home

VICI, Okla. - In some places, there is no division. Everybody is going the same way.

"Thankfully we live in a community that there are so many people out here who have that kind of character,” Shane Payton said.

And it is that character that drove them into harm’s way, tossing care to the flames and doing for their neighbors more than they did for themselves.

"Everybody had cattle. Everybody's home was in jeopardy, and the Moss family, they have cattle just right up the road, and they were on their way to take care of their cattle whenever they saw our home almost on fire,” Payton said. “Everywhere around was in flames, and they stopped, and they took the time away from doing what they needed to do, their livestock to try to save our home.

Thousands of acres burned. Many lost their homes. Some lost their lives.

Payton was at work that evening. His wife and their two boys were home. With each mile that the fire climbed closer, Payton got a phone call from his wife.

"I got that last phone call saying the fire just crossed the highway, and we gotta go,” he said.

But as his wife and children were leaving their home, little did they know that the Moss family was on their way to it.

"They have a tractor that was down at their property so they can move hay bales and such, and they went and got the tractor,” Payton said.

And began digging up dirt with their tractor and dumping it on the flames that were circling the Paytons' home.

"They saved our house,” Payton said. "They're very humble people. They don't want any praise for it, and I've tried to thank them and get their story and they're like 'Oh, anybody would do it for anybody.'"

So Shane nominated them for Pay It Forward.

Danny and Darlene Moss were unsuspecting when they arrive for dinner at the Paytons' house. A roast in the crock pot, and News 4 hiding in wait of their arrival.

"During the fires, you guys didn't worry about your cattle. You were worried about saving our home, and I have no doubt you guys saved everything we have, our hopes and dreams we've worked for. And so on behalf of First Fidelity Bank and News 4 and our family, we want to present you guys with four hundred dollars."

"What are neighbors for? That's exactly what it’s for. I'm speechless. I don't intend to receive. I intend to give. That's what we've been taught all of our life,” Danny Moss said.

The Paytons live just a few miles outside town, but the smoke so thick and the relentless flames so tall, you couldn't tell where you were.

"We were driving in smoke,” he said. “You couldn't see very far in front of you or anything else. The barn was on fire. Out in front of the house was on fire, and basically all we done was what neighbors would do is put the fires out the best we could. My wife took a Styrofoam cup and was throwing water on the barn.”

Danny, his wife Darlene and their son Cody took on the fire with a styrofoam cup and a tractor.

"When we pulled up it was burning high towards the top of the power pole,” he said.

Cup by cup and a load of dirt at a time, they put it out.

"We buried it,” Moss said. “We literally covered up the building and just kept burying it and burying it.”

It's been several months now since the fire. Some things are still scorched, lasting scars that'll take years to heal. But what the Moss family did that day made an impression that'll last a lifetime.

Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.

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