Neighbors Helping Neighbors

I’m breaking away from my traditional publisher’s letter to tell a story, and to ask readers to help us to lend a helping hand to some neighbors.

A tragic event happened the other day in Glenwood Springs. It kept me thinking well after I went to bed, and it’s still on my mind.

From the front window of my office, I watched a home become totally engulfed in flames. I will not mislead you. It was mesmerizing. You cannot look away from flames swallowing a home. But my fascination quickly turned to concern as I thought about the poor folks who were watching their home burn to the ground.

I could not help but wonder if the residents were safe. I later learned that two people who were living there were actually at home at the time of the fire. Five other residents were gone at the time. Our local Glenwood Springs Post Independent newspaper reported that neither the residents nor our brave first responders from Glenwood Springs and from neighboring communities suffered any injuries.

As you would expect, the second line of responders was our local chapter of the Red Cross. They quickly stepped in to offer shelter and food to the victims. Even though that is only a temporary act of kindness, it is a service we can give thanks for. Red Cross is there in communities across the country when disasters of all kinds strike.

But the question that continues to gnaw away at me is: What are these people going to do now? They have lost everything. That morning, their lives were normal. A matter of hours or maybe even minutes later, their lives were destroyed as they knew it. Everything turned to ashes: clothing, furniture, keepsakes, photos of their family and friends. All gone. Recovery must seem almost impossible.

We read or hear about such tragedies daily in the news. The next day, the news cycle moves on to new tragedies. It’s rare to ever learn what has become of those poor people two or three months later.

I am not sure what can be done. Or maybe something is being done and I just don’t know about it. I do know that this valley cares about its people.

We would like to publicize any longer-term efforts to help the fire victims in the pages of this magazine, so if you know about efforts to help them, please write to me at rfrench@lifestylepubs.com.