Maybe it’s 9-11, Katrina or Sandy. Maybe it’s Columbine or the fires in Colorado in recent years. Maybe it’s the floods that ravaged Colorado just a few months ago that were called “Biblical in proportion”. Whatever your memory of a disaster, unless you are completely immersed in the tragedy at hand, we have a tendency to move on and forget there are people who have been maimed, displaced or emotionally altered for life (and in all likelihood, all of the above).
Most recently, Boulder County was battered with nearly 17 inches of rain in 3 days and thousands of people were effected. The majority of us moved on with our daily lives while they had to put theirs back together.
We here at the Antlers had the opportunity to help one of these victims. His name is David and he lost everything. It was his girlfriend Denise (a former school teacher in Eagle) and the United Methodist Church in Boulder that spread the word. David needed help. She reached out to her friends and the Antlers donated a place for him to stay for a month (free of charge) until he got back on his feet.
I had the pleasure of getting to know this young man and he shared with me some of what he had been through. This is a short account of his pain and pleasure:
After a week, he was permitted to inspect the damage the rains had caused.
….”For the next 7 days I watched this waterway flow through my unit. During those 7 days I thought of why this had happened? How it could have happened to me? Who’s fault was it that this building was destroyed? How would I be compensated? etc. I built up anger, dealt with sadness and the realization that while it was just stuff, it was everything….photos and heirlooms…childhood collections….dishes and furniture…everything.”
“Most of my things were buried in 4 feet of mud and raw sewage that had solidified as hard as concrete. I simply could not dig it out. Everything else was gone. It had floated down the St Vrain River with everyone else s stuff.”
“The insurance companies were quick to point out that I had coverage on every imaginable event; but not a flood. So starting from scratch is where I found myself. It was lonely and scary.”
… “In the end, more than anything, it was a lesson in kindness” he told me. “Folks sweated and worked themselves to exhaustion without regard for why. They did it out of pure kindness.
“Then I met all the good folks at the Antlers. From their kindness and that of the owners of the condominiums, I had found a home base from which I could put together a game plan and get back on my feet.”
He continued. “That time was a turning point for me, a very positive one at that. From the Antlers I was able to secure a full-time job in the mountains (he had been working as a part time contractor) and locate a fully furnished apartment in Steamboat.”
Maybe a lesson for all of us is what he said as he was packing up his truck to move on and settle in his new place.
“I may never have a nice collection of pots and pans again (or need them), nor will I get to sit back and look at pictures of my grandpa standing by his WW II fighter plane, but I am moving to the mountains to realize a dream. Best of all, I have a greater appreciation of what can happen to ones mindset or state of being if you lend a hand to a person in time of need.”
“The people in Boulder and the folks at the Antlers helped me see the positive in a rough situation that could have easily brought me to a dark place. ”
“So thank you…thank you to all those that made the effort to lend a hand. The impact was greater than you’ll ever know.”
Best of luck with everything moving forward David. Glad we could help.