EAGLE COUNTY — Local groups are beginning to rally to help Front Range flood victims.
“As the flood waters recede the need becomes more obvious,” said local musician Don Watson.
Local churches and other groups are also stepping up to help.
“In the last 24 hours, the needs have gone from nothing to everything and it’s exponentially growing,” said Patrick Herbert with The Vail Church’s Our Backyard ministry.
Watson, along with other local performers, is hosting a benefit Sunday at the Route 6 Cafe in Eagle-Vail. The money goes to the Red Cross. Watson said anyone who wants to be part of the benefit should call him.
Kathy Morrow will be playing the piano at Splendido to collect money for flood relief while she performs.
Other local musicians and performers are also raising money for relief efforts, Watson said.
“If you see someone doing it, throw some money in their tip jar,” Watson said. “I’m not sure how we’ll do, but everything helps. The people from the Front Range sure supports us. Lots of people don’t realize how close we are.”
The Vail Church in Avon is collecting money, food, water, cleaning supplies and blankets through its Our Backyard ministry, said Patrick Herbert.
A group from the church is headed down Saturday morning to help clean the International Family Missions warehouse. It was buried under several feet of water, and the ministry has lost all its supplies.
“We are collecting specific donations at The Vail Church, and we have several companies that are personally going and financially sponsoring the effort — Lone Star Security, Guida Construction, Northwestern Mutual to name a few,” Herbert said.
The church is running a work trip to the Front Range every week for the foreseeable future. Right now, they’re working with group from Greeley, Boulder and Longmont.
Vail Mountain Rescue sent two crews down, one to relieve the other.
It might seem odd that a mountain rescue group would be working a flood, but the fundamentals are about the same, said Dan Smith with Vail Mountain Rescue.
“We’re used to flying Blackhawks and Chinook helicopters and rescuing people. That’s what we do, and that’s what we did,” Smith said.
Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger was one of a dozen Vail police officers summoned to Jefferson County to help staff their incident command center.
The Vail contingent is part of a Northwest Colorado incident management team that helps with this sort of thing. They headed down Friday and came back Tuesday.
“It was a great opportunity to get some experience,” Henninger said.
Vail Resorts contributed $100,000 to the Colorado Red Cross for flood relief, specifically to provide food and shelter for those who have been evacuated from their homes.
The company will also donate $1 for every season pass sold in Colorado, which will more than double its overall contribution.
The ski company set up a website, www.redcross.org/vailresorts-emp, for its 22,000 employees to contribute to the flood relief efforts.
Vail Resorts employees have pledged to give hundreds of volunteer hours during the next several months to help with rebuilding efforts in affected Front Range communities.