1/31/2014 12:06 PM
We always thought it would be a forest fire that would drive us from our home. There have been a few close fires, but nothing that compares to the nearly three months we spent away from home because of the September 2013 flood in Northern Colorado.
Most of you don’t know this, but Brian Russell is not only an excellent software developer, he is also a volunteer fire fighter. During the flood, Brian was busy rescuing people from rooftops, checking on the elderly, and breaking into empty houses to rescue pets whose owners were away from home. I was mostly at the house, taking care of the kids and my parents who were unfortunate enough to be visiting us from Florida when the flood hit.
Each evening, we had a neighborhood meeting at the end of our road. At first they told us it would be two or three months before we could get out. But Chinook helicopters showed up the next day and began taking residents to Fort Collins, CO. We stayed at home for several more days, helping other residents evacuate. But when they told us it would most likely be a year before the roads could be repaired, we took a ride on a Chinook.
The kids loved the Chinook ride; but he dogs hated it! My daughter said it was too short, but the bus ride from the base where we landed to Timberline Church was too long. At the church we were able to reconnect some pets we brought out with their owners who had evacuated earlier and call some local friends who came to pick us up. We stayed with them for several days in Fort Collins, while working out the details of how we would get back up to our office in Estes Park.
Brian’s father drove his truck from Tulsa, OK to Fort Collins for us to use. We loaded it up with lots of supplies – and the kids and dogs – and headed up the long way through Golden to a friend’s house in Estes Park. We were extremely lucky to get a tip from a friend about a cabin that the owners were willing to rent to a family affected by the flood. We moved in two days later, on a Sunday, and school started again for the kids on Monday -- one and a half weeks after the flood.
Once we settled into the cabin, everything became routine again. Our office in Estes Park did not sustain any damage. There was some flooding in the parking lot and first floor, but it was quickly cleaned up. We were able to get back to work to support Events2HVAC.
While living at the cabin, we were able to hike to our house over makeshift footbridges to prepare it for the winter. We also helped some of our neighbors make the hike and prepare their homes. We spent a few days helping to clear flood debris, but it was very slow going with the tools we had available. We had a community flood survivor barbeque and later a Thanksgiving dinner at our fire house, the only “downtown” building that was undamaged by the flood.
Two weeks before Christmas, we were able to return to our home. We are very grateful for the friends and family who helped us get through this experience. We know we are the lucky ones. There are many others whose lives may be forever changed by the flood. Many homes and several businesses along the North Fork of the Big Thompson River were completely destroyed. Our hearts and prayers go out to all who are still recovering.
Founded in 1998, Streamside Solutions provides software products, solutions and services for the building automation industry.
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