BUENVA VISTA, Colo. (CBS4) – To honor a family killed in a rock slide a year ago, Buena Vista focused on a larger family on Monday — the town’s entire community.
The idea to bring all residents together for the BV Strong Community Dinner germinated at the local high school.
“It started with all of us in the hallways of the high school and started getting bigger and bigger until finally we called town hall and said, ‘Give us Main Street for a day and watch what happens,’ ” Buena Vista high school student Brandon Fairchild said.
Dwayne and Dawna Johnson were hiking near Mount Princeton with their two daughters and two nephews when the slide hit. The Johnson’s daughter Gracie, 13, was the only survivor.
Fairchild said idea to bring the entire town together began a year ago after homecoming week.
Sixteen-hundred people were expected — just about every person in town.
“A year ago people asked me, ‘How does a community come together like this with such short notice?’ And my response was, ‘This is who we are all the time.’ But we never have a chance to sit down without a crisis happening,” the high school’s principal, Brian Yates, said. “So, we thought, ‘Why not we pull that idea of the community table together for the community when there’s not a crisis?’ ”
There’s no entertainment. There are no speeches. On Monday, it was just friends and neighbors coming together — at 223 tables.
“So we’re having everyone sit with everyone, which is why we have the banquet tables set up the way they do,” Fairchild said. “We asked them to keep two chairs open for a random person to come and sit.”
When told that communities just don’t do this very often, Yates, with tears in his eyes, said, “That’s a shame. We should do it more often.”