They lost their home of 24 years in Grand Lake, Colorado to the East Troublesome Fire on October 21, 2020. They bought that house from my grandparents, Marie and Donald Kern, who lived there for 5 years and owned a restaurant in town.
My mom has been a 911 dispatcher for 20 years and my dad is a retired firefighter. They have done their due diligence to our county; both always helping people and one risking his life for our town. My parents are the most deserving and loving people I know. My dad is a tie-dye loving hippie and my mom is an all-loving amazing artist. They both love camping and spending time outdoors. They had a 19-foot teepee in the backyard which had become our best hangout spot. It was a prized possession of my dad’s.
Now, the ones who are always the helpers, need help. They need donations, they need support, they need love.
On the night of the fire, they were put in pre-evacuation at around 7, and at that point, they didn’t think the fire would reach their home. They were packing up a few things, photo albums, the safe which held all of our documents, a few days worth of clothes, and other small things that were of importance. Then, they were put in a mandatory evacuation. At this point, they still didn’t think the fire could reach their home. They grabbed dog leashes, medicine, other essentials and a few random things from the house and threw them into the cars. They were planning on being able to come home in a few days. They were continuously checking outside to see the condition of the fire and how close it was. Then they saw an ominous glow near the Winding River Ranch which was one street away from them. It started getting pitch black near the house and the sound of the fire was loud and terrifying. My parents still had a few things on their list to grab when a 30-foot wall of fire going 60 miles an hour came right for the house. When my parents left, the neighbor’s property was on fire. My dad saw his beloved teepee start to burn as he tore away from the flames.
It has been devastating.
They have been married for 26 years and have traveled so many places together, bought/found so many precious things that have memories attached to them. There were several items that belonged to my grandparents on both sides, who have all passed on, that are now gone forever. I wish I could name everything that held value in that home, but there were just too many. It is seriously so unimaginable that all of these things are gone and irreplaceable. Now, they are displaced and unsure of what the future holds.
This has been devastating for our county and our heart goes out to anyone who lost their home. And I will ask that please if you have anything to donate to please help my family out. Anything helps. Thank you <3
- Charles Sweeney
- Julie Owen
Organizer and beneficiary
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