By Matt Kroschel
EL JEBEL, Colo. (CBS4)– As flames consumed thousands of acres in the backyards of people who live along the Roaring Fork River, it wasn’t hard to find positive and uplifting stories to tell, despite the gravity of the situation with the Lake Christine Fire still sinking in.
We watched at a stoplight roadblock in El Jebel as a car pulled over to the shoulder, the driver rolled down his window and handed the two young Colorado State Patrol troopers some sandwiches before driving off into the darkness.
We met the volunteers, including some people who themselves were forced to evacuate; pitching in to make sure firefighters had enough food.
Corporations like Whole Foods dropped off dinner one night, enough to feed 300 people.
The Salvation Army with their “Emergency Canteen” (they don’t serve beer) rolled up and within a matter of minutes started organizing breakfast and volunteers packed brown bag lunches.
There was the woman from Aspen who saw the fire as it quickly grew, drove to the command post and just started working to make things easier for those out on the front lines.
I could go on. And I will.
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Like the young cowboys from Wyoming who were in town for the rodeo, instead forming a caravan of horse trailers helping ranchers evacuate and transport the animals to the large animal shelter in Rifle. Or the stack of toys, so large the Red Cross had to start turning folks with more donations away, all for the evacuated kids to play with while at the shelters.
All of this is enough to make you tear up. And, yes, I did that several times while talking with these amazing people. When we talk about “Together4Colorado” it is not just a slogan, it is a commitment. Not just a commitment from us at CBS4 to bring you the stories, but one from you to keep up the incredible acts of kindness and love that make this state and the people who live here the best in the country.
There will be more fires this season, that’s a sad reality. Wherever the next one sparks it’s also a fact, the community will rise to the occasion. They will lift each other up and they will show gratitude to the fire crews who are there to fight on our behalf.
– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Colorado Wildfire section.
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