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Compassion lit by Coal Seam Fire

Donna Daniels
Staff Writer

When Hap Webb learned about the Coal Seam Fire, her first reaction was to find some way to help. So she logged on to her online Association of Stained Glass Lamp Artists chat group.

Hearing of the fire, they too, wanted to help the victims. The group decided to pool their talents and create a stained glass “quilt,” a mosaic of six by six-inch glass squared with different designs that would be assembled into one piece.

Then it would be sold to the highest bidder on the eBay Internet auction site, with the proceeds going to those who lost their homes in the Coal Seam Fire.

The project is dubbed “Combining Art and Compassion.”

The finished quilt will be on display at Alpine Bank and the Colorado Mountain College Gallery in Glenwood Springs in September and will go on auction at the end of the month.

Alpine Bank will also disburse the funds collected from the auction of the quilt to the fire victims.

So far, over 65 squares have been received by Toni and Rene Trepanier of Wallops Island, Va., who will assemble them into one finished work.

Artists from 16 states and four countries, including Poland, Australia, Canada and Holland, have submitted their work, said Webb.

“It was amazing how fast it took off. It’s an enormous project and takes so much coordination,” Webb said. “People all over the world wrote in. Everyone wanted to do something. It’s really heart-warming, especially after what’s happened this year.”

Toni Trepanier said when she heard about the fires in Colorado she e-mailed Hap to find out “how it was going. She could see the flame and was on evacuation alert, yet she was loading her car with blankets and spare clothing and I was impressed by her generosity.

“Not too many people would risk their own safety to drive to a shelter to deliver blankets.

“That impressed me to the point where I knew I wanted to do more than write a check. So I put out the message to ASGLA and several responded with squares,” she said.

The project drew the members of the Internet chat group even closer together.

“One thing I can honestly say is this has been a wonderful experience and I have met some of the finest people I’ve ever known,” Trepanier said.

Designs range from birds to fish, mountains to flowers. A memorial square is also planned to remember a chat group member, Walt Boepple, who recently passed away.

“It’s real appropriate to have this stained glass quilt,” said Bill Kight, who is a fire information officer with the White River National Forest in Glenwood Springs. “Quilts were made for the families of the firefighters who died in the 1994 Storm King Fire. I’d like to say thank you in behalf of the firefighters.”

Alpine Bank vice president for marketing John Cooper hopes the quilt can stay in Glenwood Springs.

“Ultimately, it would be wonderful if someone would purchase it locally. I would love to see it as a permanent fixture in the Community Center. It would say how much people care about each other. There’s nothing that can’t be accomplished when people care about each other.”


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