“People are awesome!” Locals rally to help during the holidays
December 26, 2016
EAGLE — Santa's helpers are the good kind of tired.
Good people doing good things rallied to help as many people as possible have a merry Christmas and happy holidays.
Most people are OK most of the time, and we really do care about each other, but sometimes it takes real trouble to help us focus, says Tsu Wolin-Brown with the Salvation Army.
We asked a couple of folks to share some stories, and the calls poured in. Among the many stories:
Out of the fire
Porfirio Reyes and his family survived a fire last weekend in their Eagle River mobile park home.
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Reyes was trying to help himself and his family. He was still working Christmas Eve when we caught up with him.
"As Christmas gets a little closer, I feel a little more sad that we lost everything, pictures and special things we had. But everyone is OK, and that's the important thing," Reyes said.
Reyes said he has seen several fires in the 15 years he has lived there, including a fatal blaze that he said killed his nephew.
Locals rallied to help the family with thousands of dollars in cash and personal items, a place to stay in a local hotel, available apartments, and even some Christmas presents. Reyes has children in local schools. The school district and students have stepped up in a big, big way.
"Everyone has been so generous. There are some good people around," Reyes said.
To help, contact Reyes at 970-306-3788 or the local Salvation Army at 970-748-0704 or salvationarmyvail.org.
Local Masons make helping a habit
A couple days ago, we wrote about the Masonic Lodge in Eagle and their annual toy drive. The Masons have been doing this for decades, and this year might be one of their most successful.
The goal is to help local families make sure presents are under every Christmas tree. On opening night, 214 families showed up, which is a good thing.
They also received calls from a couple local store managers saying toy donation boxes in their stores were overflowing, and would they please come get them.
"People are awesome!" said Luke Causey, who heads Eagle's Castle Masonic Lodge this year. "Our community has contributed a pile of toys so large a frost bitten explorer would want to climb atop it and plant a flag."
And bikes. People showed up with all kinds of bikes. The Masons fix donated bikes and give them to kids who don't have one.
While this year's Masonic toy drive is over, Christmas will roll around again in 2017, and the Masons have plenty of storage space, Causey said.
Causey may be contacted by emailing Luke09@gmail.com.
Paying it forward
A couple years ago, a local woman was struggling to keep body and soul together with her children. When it started to look like Santa was going fly right on by, she asked for some help from a local adopt-a-family program. Presents magically appeared under the family's Christmas tree. Fast forward a couple years to this Christmas and the woman is back on her feet. She wandered into the local Salvation Army offices with an armload of presents. She and the Salvation Army crew wrapped them right there, and they found their way under a waiting Christmas tree.
A family in Leadville suffered the kind of unimaginable medical tragedy that … well, you just can't imagine.
The woman will eventually be OK, mostly, but the road back will be long and painful.
In the meantime, people in that community are rallying to her family's aid with food, Christmas presents and all sorts of other help.
The Saint George Episcopal Church in Leadville is helping coordinate the effort. Contact them at 719-486-3087 or go to http://www.saintgeorgeleadville.com.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.