Getting the boot would have been a good thing | PostIndependent.com
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Getting the boot would have been a good thing

Pat Trauger

Dear Editor,

In the early stages of recovery from the devastating aftermath of the Coal Seam fire, there have been many `heroes’ … both recognized and unrecognized, within our community and from afar, those larger than life to those asking how can I help in my own small way. Here’s a story of a `villain.’

One of our community heroes became a victim himself Saturday when the Coal Seam fire blew up. Volunteer firefighter Chris Caywood lost his West Glenwood home to the fire. He was working hard and selflessly to help protect our community. His priority was saving our city. As a firefighter, he was a part of the team that drew the line in the sand and stood in defense against the rages of Mother Nature. He lost his home and possessions while helping to save so many others.

On Wednesday, June 12, members of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department went around to area businesses asking to place a firefighter’s rubber boot for contributions to help their `brother’ Chris. One was placed in the Glenwood Springs City Market. The next day, it was gone! No, the `villain’ was not some thief who made off with the boot. It became the victim of `corporate policy’ and some human(?) playing `god’ and interpreting that policy. Apparently, the `boot effort’ was not `authorized’ by someone in the City Market/King Soopers/ Kroger corporate hierarchy, and because the proceeds were to benefit one person rather the whole group of fire victims, it was not `fair.’

It is upsetting that these professional firefighters, `heroes’ to us all, are getting a slap in the face rather than a pat on the back or a hug. They witnessed the power and destruction up close and personal and one of their own became a victim himself. Their efforts to heal and help, while the fire still burns, has been hampered by `corporate is king’ versus `community taking care of its own.’ I know that businesses throughout our town are constantly being asked to donate to worthwhile efforts (and I’m sure many including City Market have stepped up to the plate during the Coal Seam fire), but this `boot effort’ was not a business solicitation, other than the space for a boot and a piece of paper explaining the `who, what, and why.’ These firefighters, especially Chris, need positive reinforcement, not the wind taken out of their sails.

In numbers, there is strength. With the Coal Seam Fire, it has been shown through the initial heroic efforts of our local emergency professionals and continues with the work of the fire crews from outside our area. It will continue to be shown in our personal monetary and material contributions to the victims of the fire. But for Chris Caywood, those numbers and his strength may be less because City Market succumbed to `corporate policy.’ A part of our community and western Colorado for so many years, a part of our regular routines, a place that strengthens community as we visit with friends and neighbors while we shop, has now shown its true, ugly face. Corporate is more important than community. The words in a company policy are more important than the soul and psyche of the people we live with (and those who protect us) 24 hours a day. The strength of a business or corporation depends on many numbers (dollars). This success helps in their ability to contribute back to their community and provide a livelihood for familiar faces, so please do not `boycott’ City Market.

For Chris Caywood and other fire victims, our numbers will give them strength. Your contributions will add up, make a difference, and help give them new starts. Give him and his fellow firefighters strength and show your support by making their `boot’ effort succeed. It is a part of their healing and ours, too. Look for a boot in local area businesses (but don’t go looking for one at City Market). Check the newspaper for other opportunities to contribute and help the fire victims. To one degree or another, we have all been affected by the Coal Seam Fire. For Chris Caywood, a true victim of Mother Nature, it is adding insult to heartbreak to also be a `victim’ of a nameless, faceless `corporate policy.’

Sincerely and outrageously,

Pat Trauger

Glenwood Springs


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