`I really feel God’s been good to us’
This is a story with a happy ending. It began in flames and was saved by faith in God and in the kindness of friends and strangers.Jourdan and Jennifer Inglehart and their four children were in Denver the day of the Coal Seam Fire, June 8. They’d taken 16-year-old Jenalee to the hospital to be treated for her cystic fibrosis.With Jenalee settled, they began the trip home in the early evening.”We left Denver about 6 p.m. and as we were headed up the foothills we saw one of those flashing billboards. It said I-70 was closed in Glenwood Springs,” Jennifer said.The family lived in West Glenwood in the Storm King Trailer Park.”I’m sure that it’s not in our part of town,” Jennifer remembers saying to Jourdan. “We decided to go as far as we could.”When they got to the top of Vail Pass there was another billboard flashing. This time, the message said Interstate 70 was closed at Gypsum. They turned around and crossed Fremont Pass, thinking to drive over Independence Pass into Aspen and then home.”There was no news on the radio, and we were joking that we may not have a home to go to,” she said.As they reached Aspen about 9 p.m. they were able to tune into local radio station KSPN, which reported that West Glenwood had been evacuated.”I thought, great, our house is gone and I’m out of a job in one day,” she said. Jennifer works at JC Penney in the Glenwood Mall, which they also heard had burned. Rather than heading for the Red Cross shelter at Colorado Mountain College, which they assumed would be full by that time of night, the couple decided to sleep in their church, Crystal River Baptist in El Jebel.”It was too late to drop in on the in-laws,” Jennifer said.After a call to Pastor Darryl Reeves to tell him of their situation, Reeves offered his camper trailer parked next to the church.”We figured it would only be one night, so we carried the twins in and settled in,” she said. The twins are 6-year-old Joseph and Jacob.Reeves’ wife brought them some clothes to change into for church services the next morning.”She was so sweet,” Jennifer said, her eyes tearing up and welling over. “She stayed up all night praying for us.”Sunday afternoon, despite a small hope that the trailer may have been spared, the Ingelharts learned the truth.Jourdan was escorted to the Storm King Trailer Park to see for himself.”As soon as they went up Storm King Road, he could see all the way through. There was nothing there. It was all flat,” Jennifer said. “He stopped and they turned around. He didn’t go to the house. Our house was flattened.”Monday afternoon the whole family went back to the site of their home, covered with ash. There was nothing left.The family stayed in the camper all summer, eating out every night because there was not enough space to cook inside.It was a waiting time as well, waiting to learn how much money they’d get back from their insurance company so they could try to start their lives over again.In the final tally, they received only $5,000 for their 6-year-old trailer, but got $20,000 for the contents of their home.With that they were able to make a down payment on a home in Castle Valley Ranch in New Castle. Mason & Morse Real Estate, the Ingleharts’ agent, cut the commission. On the day the Ingleharts moved in, Aug. 26, there was a brand -new washer and dryer in the garage, bought by the listing agent, Robin Bennett of Garry Buzick and Assoc.”It felt really good. We went to Wal-Mart and bought sleeping bags and slept on the floor,” Jennifer said.Last Friday, Jennifer, Jenalee and 14-year-old Jereth were in their sun-flooded living room. Jereth and Jenalee are home-schooled, and were at work on their lessons. Jennifer, who looks barely older than her daughter, sat composed and well-centered on a donated white leather couch.It was only in moving into a new home that the enormity of losing everything hit home. Virtually all of their furniture was donated by friends and strangers. Jennifer did buy a new bedroom set for her and Jourdan.”It’s the first time we’ve had matching furniture,” she laughed.”Everybody in the community has been so wonderful. There are so many people we’d never met,” she said.Now that winter has set in, she must buy winter clothes for the family.The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will be a little bittersweet. “We lost all our holiday decorations. We don’t have all those familiar things,” she said.But through it all, the Ingelharts feel they have much to be thankful for.”I really feel God’s been good to us,” Jennifer said.
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