GRAND COUNTY, Colo. -- All year long we've talked about helping Colorado rebound. We thought our attention would be solely focused on the pandemic. Then came the fires.
Hundreds of homes were lost in some of the biggest wildfires in our state’s history. Many escaped with little more than the clothes on their backs.
But – thanks to you, help has arrived.
On Monday, we put your donations to good use - purchasing tools, bedding, food, and more for people impacted by the Cameron Peak Fire. Our crews spent the day in Loveland delivering goods and checks, one totaling $75,000 given to the United Way of Larimer County.
Tuesday, we turned our focus to Grand County, where the East Troublesome Fire destroyed more than 300 homes. Our day started with a blanket delivery to Grand Lake Fire Protection District. The blankets were made by a group of ladies in Johnstown and they will certainly be put to good use.
“We will put some of them in our ambulances,” said Grand Lake fire marshal Dan Mayer. “You know, when people get hurt, sometimes their kids have to go with them in the ambulance. So, we can keep patients warm and give them to children as we have with teddy bears and things like that.”
At the firehouse, we met some of the guys who worked on the night the East Troublesome Fire blew up.
“We put in a lot of work that night,” said fire lieutenant Jarred Nelson. “I think the chief said it was 53 hours straight that our guys were up and working. So, I’m super proud of them.”
“When you’re in that state-of-mind, you don’t get tired,” said firefighter engineer Lucas Schmitz. “You just keep going.”
Grand Lake Fire Protection District lost a lot of hoses and other equipment the night of the fire.
“On behalf of Denver7 and our generous viewers, we’d like to present this check to Grand Lake Fire Protection District for $10,000,” said Denver7’s Russell Haythorn.
“I have few words to say to thank you to Channel 7 and your viewers for this incredibly generous check,” said Grand Lake Fire Protection District Chief Seth St. Germain. “These guys are complete Jedi Knights when it comes to fire operations. They train hard. Super dedicated individuals.”
Our next stop was the Mountain Family Center in Granby where they’ve served dozens of fire victims with clothing, toys, a food pantry and other items.
The toy shop is certainly good for families this time of year.
“We have games and puzzles,” said DeeAnna Jones at the Mountain Family Center. “This is a great place for kids and families.”
Dave Lively lost his home in the fire. He’s inspired by the community response.
“I almost don’t have words for it,” Lively said. “We are telling people, 'we lost our house, but we haven’t lost our home.' And this is a big part of that. My home is in Grand Lake, but my community is all of Grand County.”
The Mountain Family Center and many other organizations and individuals in Grand County are served by the Grand Foundation, so Denver7 wanted to support them.
“Megan, we’d like to present you with this check for $75,000 from Denver7 Gives,” said Haythorn.
Grand Foundation executive director Megan Ledin says this will certainly serve the community well.
“We have immediate needs, short-term needs and long-term needs, we are going to be funding out of the wildfire fund,” Ledin said. “This puts us over $2.6 million, so thank you so much.”
A day of giving thanks to you, the generous viewers of Denver7 Gives.
Denver7 Gives has started a new fundraising campaign for victims of Colorado's wildfires. To donate, go here and then look for "Help Colorado Wildfire Victims" in the dropdown. We are working with our community partners up and down the Front Range to ensure every dollar raised stays in Colorado and helps families who've lost so much.