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'I hope we come back better than before': Coloradans who met with POTUS reflect on experience

Coloradans who met with POTUS reflect on experience
Posted at 10:39 PM, Jan 07, 2022

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — On Friday, President Joe Biden arrived and departed the state leaving behind some hefty commitments in his pledge to helping Colorado recover from the Marshall Fire.

Those who met the commander-in-chief, hope Coloradans will lean into unity rather than a politics to get the job done.

"I hope we come back better than before, and I think we will," Ryan Miller said. "Our community has come together like I have never seen before."

Ryan Miller lost his childhood home in Louisville during the Marshall Fire. During Biden's tour of a destroyed Harper Lake neighborhood, Ryan Miller and his brothers, Ian and Colin, got to meet the president.

"Some of [the conversation] was like what's your story? How was it for us? What was our experience in the fire?" Ian Miller said. "Definitely felt good to know that a president cares about you."

The Miller brothers said they felt Biden's commitment during his speech and in their one-on-one conversation with him. They hoped others would know the rebuilding process transcends politics and relies on unity.

"We had some discussions with them just about what they plan to do, which we're really interested to see," Ryan Miller said.

The brothers, all between the ages of 18 and 23, and their parents were out of town when they learned the Marshall Fire was heading straight for their home.

"It was just hard because the place that we had always called home was all of a sudden gone," said Colin Miller, the youngest brother.

The trio shared their family was unable to salvage anything. The family's dogs were rescued by a neighbor when evacuation orders went into effect, but everything else perished.

"All of those memories and so many irreplaceable things, everything that was passed down within the family, like gifts, or just memories, like photos, it's just all gone," Colin Miller said.

The oldest, Ian Miller, said he thinks many will be on high alert following this experience.

"We didn't have a fireproof safe, and we probably should have put stuff in safety deposit boxes," he said. "I think we're gonna learn in the future [a wildfire] can happen any time. Clearly, it happened in December and can happen anywhere to anyone and we just got the luck of the draw."

Most importantly, the brothers said they're grateful they have each other. Soon they'll return to their college studies and their parents will continue living at a friend's property while they determine next steps.