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Donations ‘really coming in’ for victims of fire

Lynn Burton
Staff Writer

Local financial institutions have established several funds to help victims of the Coal Seam fire, including one that will be funneled through the city of Glenwood Springs.

It is tentatively called the Glenwood Springs Relief Fund, and 100 percent of the money will go directly to local victims.

“There will be no administrative fees, and nobody will get a finger on the funds except the victims,” said Scott Sobke, branch president at Mesa National Bank.

Glenwood Springs City Manager Michael Copp said the city council will appoint a committee to administer the fund.

“The city is stepping forward on this,” Copp said.

It’s still too early to determine what criteria the committee will come up with for disbursing the funds, Copp said, but he understands it’s for people whose homes were lost or damaged.

Sobke said the idea for the Glenwood Springs Relief Fund came after a conversation with Mayor Don Vanderhoof.

“He said, `Why not funnel the money through the city?'” Sobke said. “Red Cross can’t guarantee 100 percent of the donations will be kept in the community.”

Red Cross officials were not available for comment.

Sobke spent much of Friday calling local financial institutions to explain the Glenwood Springs Relief Fund, and worked with city clerk Robin Clemons firming up the list on Monday.

Sobke said his bank is accepting Glenwood Springs Relief Funds from individuals, and also from businesses such as the Glenwood Automotive Group, which is donating $500 for every retail vehicle it sells.

“A significant amount will be raised,” Sobke said.

Sobke said the Oasis Sports Bar held a fund-raiser last weekend, and another one is planned. Mesa National Bank has also made a donation to the fund, but Sobke declined to give the amount.

At Alpine Bank, approximately $44,300 has been donated to two funds, said spokesperson Kris Springsteel. Of that figure, $43,000 will go to the local Red Cross operation, and $700 to the Chris Caywood fund. Caywood is a volunteer firefighter who lost his home.

U.S. Bank has two funds: the Glenwood Springs Relief Fund, and a Red Cross fund that is part of the bank’s statewide efforts to raise money. Clayton Collier, the bank’s marketing manager, said $500 to $1,000 has been raised so far. “Our holding company will also make a substantial donation,” Collier said.

The Bank of Colorado has raised about $9,300. “It’s really been coming in,” said spokeswoman Pam Dakan.

At Wells Fargo Bank, people can donate to its Coal Seam Relief Fund, or to a statewide fund that will help animals injured in any of Colorado’s wildfires, said Glenwood Springs/Carbondale branch manager Wanda Cooley.

WestStar Bank started accepting donations on Monday. “All our funds will go through the city’s committee,” said bank spokeswoman Kristin Williams.


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