CIMARRON, Kan. (KSNW) — It has been only a week since winds and wildfires scoured parts of Kansas. The impact stretched across counties with more than 165,000 acres burned. The windstorm also took a human toll. It caused several deaths, including two men, Thomas Peterson, 55, of Cimarron, and Doyle Kauk, 78, of Hoxie. They were caught in an eight-car pileup in Grant County.

Jeremy King, a close friend of Peterson, spoke to KSN about his impact on Cimarron,

“There were probably 500 people at the funeral. It’s the biggest funeral I’ve ever been to.”

Peterson was well-known in the Cimarron area for his ability to train rodeo horses.

“Most of the time, Tom’s third-string horse was better than people’s first-string horse,” King explained.

King says Peterson was best known for how he treated people of all ages.

“It was like his good nature, and calm, happy personality was a magnet, especially with the kids. Tom mentored literally dozens of kids in and out of the arena.”

King hopes Peterson’s legacy can serve as an example for others.

“If you’re having a rough time, what would Tom say, or how would Tom handle this. I think if everybody went with that kind of an attitude with how they handle people, how they handle their horses, how they handle their kids, I think it would be a game-changer for their lives.”

The crash was one of two fatal wrecks to go along with 20 other injury accidents reported during the Dec. 15 wind storm.