LEFTHAND CANYON, Colo. (CBS4) – A volunteer firefighter who helped out during the September floods is grateful for the neighbors who helped salvage his home.

Three months after the floods John Pellouchoud still has moments of disbelief and despair.

“I could just see logs and boulders, throwing out boulders and I kind of resigned myself,” said Pellouchoud.

He nearly died after being washed away by a 20 foot wall of mud during the floods.

“It was a demonic wave, just a demonic wave,” said Pellouchoud.

He survived by clinging to a tree and waited to be rescued.

He returned to find his home had been devastated by flooding.

“I just sat there and stared at for a couple days and didn’t know what to do,” said Pellouchoud.

Soon strangers showed up with shovels and buckets to help out.

“It was like all of the sudden the cloud was lifted off. It was like you were in a storm and the clouds go by and the rainbow comes out. That’s what it was like,” said Pellouchoud.

First came the Mudslingers, next the Southern Baptists shoveling out two feet of mud from his home.

“All I did was sit around and cry the whole time. I would just look at them because it was so humbling, these people that didn’t know me,” said Pellouchoud, “The compassion I saw I thought was long gone. I thought it was an era long gone. I didn’t think that compassion existed with complete strangers helping people and if they only knew the effect it had on the person they helped.”

However he says the need for help is still great.

“Everybody in mountains is still suffering and struggling and I don’t want people to get flood fatigue and say ‘well that’s last month’s story,’ ” said Pellouchoud.

His hope is that they give this Christmas the gift of helping one another.

“Everybody has that power to do that. Whether holding a hand or cutting down tree or making soup everybody has that power and every little thing you do has so much power,” said Pellouchoud.


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