By Paul and Mary Johnson, Directors, Colorado Unit Mennonite Disaster Services
Disasters are always sudden and unexpected. Disaster recovery is different. It’s long and slow-small steps barely visible. Columbine Lake needs to take time to celebrate small victories after October 21, 2020.
That night CLCC lost 28 homes, the maintenance shop, and equipment and thousands of beloved trees. This June was the time to celebrate our community rebuilding together after the wildfires. On June 16 to 26, something inspiring happened. Columbine Owners came together to partner in a massive clean-up and restoration project.
The Columbine team; Dave Kaeding, Keith Kratz and Heike Wilson invited Mennonite Disaster Services (one of five FEMA nationally recognized first responders in disasters) to help with Columbine Lake fire recovery. On the list was cutting of dangerous dead trees in common areas and road right of ways, chipping a mountain of burned slash in the horse meadow on the west end of our community, spreading the chip material to prevent erosion, and replanting of native grasses to help the burned land recover. Our project ended with a free chef prepared meal, live bluegrass music by “Mike Hanifen and Friends” at our Community Center, and a celebration to rebuild as a community. Thanks to all who made this possible!
Here are some statistics to help understand the impact of this project:
-1148 Volunteer hours donated from volunteers from all over Colorado
-432 Volunteer hours given by members of the Columbine Lake community, including Dave and Keith
-39 Hours of chipper operations donated by Mennonite Disaster Services
-63 Burned trees cut out of roadways and common areas
-42 tons of burned trees and slash chipped
-19 tons of chips spread for erosion control and revegetating burned areas
-50 pounds of Native grass seed spread throughout Columbine Lake
-9 children planted ½ acre of new grass in the burned meadow
We are truly blessed to live in a community where neighbors care for and help each other. If you would like to learn more about volunteering to help restore our community, please call 970-627-8120 or email columbinelake.com. It takes all of us to assure Columbine remains the special place it is.