Early Thursday morning, the phone rang. It was my friend in Denver canceling our luncheon date. She said, “Have you see the news yet?” Quickly , I turned on the TV to see all hell breaking loose with the flooding. Just the day before, two of my daughters were remarking that the rain wouldn’t stop.
By the end of the day, power was out in Pinewood Springs, Lyons, Estes Park and so many other areas. With no electricity, phone, Internet or cell service, and with bridges, highways and other roads washed out, Pinewood was completely isolated. Neighbors got together to make a plan to share what food, supplies and expertise was available.
Ron Shumate, my son-in-law, made the contents of his greenhouse available to those short of food. The chickens in his henhouse also contributed their eggs to the cause.
The rain and clouds prohibited the rescue helicopters from flying. It took several days to rescue Ron’s family, his daughter and her family, and the many others who were stranded. When his family and neighbors were flown out, Ron and some others stayed behind to winterize their neighbors’s homes. It looked like it wouldn’t be until spring before everyone could return. Others were trying to clear an old stagecoach road so they could possibly get out with four-wheel drives.
While we were seeing all the devastation of the flood, Pinewood and the other destroyed areas were literally in the dark. They had no idea the extent of the devastation.
Finally, Ron and a few others managed to get out and make their way to Estes. This popular resort was also cut off right at the end of its tourist season. With the sewage plant not functioning and guests leaving as fast as they could, businesses and families were in a sorry state. Fortunately, Lisa, Ron’s wife, was able to rent a house that would accommodate their two homeless families and their pets. The children needed the continuity of their Estes Park schools and Ron needed to do even more for his community.
Ron and his partner, Tim Buck, had started a new T-shirt business, Trail Ridge Printing Co., this past summer in a little shop off Main Street. The printing equipment was safe. Gary Hazelton designed a “Mountain Strong” tee shirt and the two of them started cranking them out to raise money for the flood victims.
Because of their long days and nights, and with the help of some great women who came to mail out the orders, so far, they have been able to give $35,000 to the victims. And the orders are still coming in!
Hooray for Ron and Tim and all the other unsung heroes! Many in the community are very grateful to you and to all those who bought the shirts to help their neighbors.