I live in Boulder, Colorado. The heart-wrenching events a few days ago have rocked our close-knit community. Boulder is known for many things pro and con, and/but one of them is empathy and sensitivity at times like this. (Our town has the highest number of therapists and counselors in the US.)
Amid the horror and unfathomably quick devastation exacerbated by wind-driven and drought-stricken conditions, there is a side to the story that is well worth highlighting. It gives me hope. And we need it.
Local folks have sprung into action so quickly, and with such a OUTPOURING of continuous support, that is has been breathtaking.
Within hours, a realtor at my church sent a message to thousands, offering a clearinghouse for those who needed a house, a room, an apartment, a free BnB, a basement. There is now a large well-communicated site where residents of Louisville, Lafayette, and Superior – the burned suburbs – can find free housing.
Multiple shelters were established within 20 minutes of the fires. One was set aside, sadly, for Covid-positive victims. This sensitivity given to those protocols was thoughtful and compassionate.
Donation sites have been so overwhelmed with clothes, socks, hats, boots, kitchen items and animal food that many have posted a grateful request for no more. (And yes, others still welcome more.)
Food has been delivered to firefighters and first-responders non-stop.
Gift cards have been purchased and donated en masse for families, and the clothing drives I’m seeing just in my own world — in my neighborhood and at my church — have been more abundantly answered than I’ve ever witnessed, even after our heartbreaking mass shooting at King Soopers earlier this year.
Our local and state officials had what I would consider a remarkable sense of organization, collaboration, and communication (and I say this with 30 years experience as a corporate consultant). They communicated regularly and clearly to the public across multiple social media and TV sites. Websites have been updated almost by the minute (shelters, donations, animal care places, FEMA resources, insurance details, etc).
And our firefighters and front-line responders, with no sign of weariness from the difficult year here in Colorado, were best-of-the-best in saving lives and delivering clear evacuation orders.
With 1000 homes lost, there is only one fatality that has sadly been recorded just today. With the swiftness of this event, CNN news and state officials call this a miracle.
There is no living consciously at this time without feeling the weight of all we’re facing: the climate crisis, Covid, mass shootings, gun violence, racial profiling and violence, failed systems across so many sector. My eyes are wide open to the the gravity.
But I offer this to say that the spirit of deep human caring, love, and unselfed action is rising from the ashes here.
This is what will save us.