Dining With Denise Neil

Ashland native, business owner giving half his profits to fire victims

J.D. Young, who grew up in Ashland and whose aunt and uncle lost their ranch in this week’s wildfires, is putting on a fundraiser on Saturday where he’ll donate 50 percent of his proceeds.
J.D. Young, who grew up in Ashland and whose aunt and uncle lost their ranch in this week’s wildfires, is putting on a fundraiser on Saturday where he’ll donate 50 percent of his proceeds. The Wichita Eagle

J.D. Young’s business is in Wichita. But his roots are in Ashland.

And so are his aunt and uncle, Rod and Patty Young, who lost 700 cattle and their home during this week’s wildfires southwest Kansas. So is his father, Francis Young, an Ashland volunteer firefighter who has spent the week battling the blaze.

Ashland volunteer firefighter Bill Neier talks about the sack lunch he received from the kids at Fowler Grade School. (Video by Mike Pearce / The Wichita Eagle)

Young, who just opened Funky Monkeys Shaved Ice 21 + in one of the new canopies in Union Station, said the tragedy is personal for him, and he wanted to find a way to help.

He’s decided to donate half of his profits from his Saturday sales to an organization that’s helping victims of the fires.

“I was heartbroken,” he said. “I’ve just been thinking how I could give back.”

Young said he lived in Ashland from the time he was 3 until he was in sixth grade. He has many fond memories of his aunt’s and uncle’s ranch. (Another relative has set up a GoFundMe page for the couple.)

Young’s business sells shaved ice with or without alcohol as well as Jell-O shots and other treats. He opened two weeks ago and has been drawing big crowds, he said.

He’ll be open from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday. The shop is at 701 E. Douglas.

Drone footage shows burned fields and a burned out barn and garage near Ashland, Kansas. After the fires swept through, winds started stripping away the topsoil, creating dust storms. (Courtesy video)

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