BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Last September hundreds of people got trapped in their small communities and had to be rescued when flood waters destroyed all the roads. They were airlifted to safety in Black Hawk helicopters.

Evacuees got the chance to thank those who rescued them at Boulder Airport Day on Saturday. For many it brought back a lot of painful memories.

Donna Gail hugs a guardsman (credit: CBS)

Donna Gail hugs a guardsman (credit: CBS)

Donna Gail didn’t go for the aircraft. She went for appreciation.

“I got rescued on Sept. 14 by you all in a Chinook. It changed my life forever. I’m so grateful,” Gail told a National Guardsman.

Gail was one of over 1,200 people rescued and airlifted to the Boulder Airport.

“I was rescued by the National Guard. They dropped down at my pond and grabbed me. There was no access out, all the roads were gone. I was completely flooded in,” Gail said.

Not only is Gail grateful, but city and state leaders are too. They declared June 14 as Colorado National Guard and U.S. Army Appreciation Day.

“We were glad to be there,” Sgt. Patrick Smith with the U.S. Army said.

Smith took to the sky for the rescue mission — the biggest airlift since Hurricane Katrina.

“It wasn’t the circumstances we looked for, it’s the type of flying we like to do,” Smith said. “You know, getting out there and helping people in the community.”

People like Gail, who found healing at Airport Day by thanking the familiar faces who saved her life.

“Everyone went so far above and beyond to help everyone,” she said.

It’s been a long road for a lot of flood victims. Gail said she’ll finally be able to move back home in the coming weeks.

Colorado Floods: How To Help

Last September’s floods have impacted families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.

More September Flooding Stories

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