Evacuee moved by community response
In response to reporter Bill Johnson’s column in the June 11 edition of the Rocky Mountain News, in Denver; I am one of the few blacks who live in a ski resort in this state but I have never experienced the kind of disaster I am part of in Glenwood Springs. I live very near “ground zero” (Storm King Mountain) and the trailer park hardest hit by the Coal Seam Fire. Growing up in Chicago and having lived in Fort Collins for seven years (I am a 1992 graduate of Colorado State University), I am not experienced with the fire danger I have seen here in my fifth year living on the Western Slope.
The best part of this experience, however, is to witness how the community comes together, to get through the personal tragedies which abound; people losing everything they own. I just moved into my new apartment in May and was just getting to know my neighbors when this fire erupted. Now, many of these new friends won’t be living next door to me, even though I have a year lease on my apartment. However, from what I hear at the Red Cross shelter, insurance companies are responding quickly to claims, to ensure that people are not left homeless by this disaster.
In addition, you must give high praise to the Red Cross and other social services in Garfield County, for how they mobilized on a “moment’s notice” – the fire spread quickly from South Canyon to my neighborhood – to provide shelter and essential services to evacuees.
I went back to the neighborhood I live in on Monday, to retrieve a change of clothes. However, my mobile home park is one of the hardest hit so electrical service will not be repaired for another day or two; I must stay in the Red Cross shelter and go to work from here, until I can reinhabit my apartment. Again, I give high praise to the Red Cross because this is the first time in my life I have had to use their services to get through a disaster affecting my community. And, I give a lot of praise to the people I live around, for making me – a black man – feel part of this community.
Marvin B. Wilson, II
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