BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – Almost 1,000 families are picking up the pieces in Boulder County after the most destructive fire in state history.
From tax breaks to mental health resources, Governor Jared Polis and several other members of the government have put in place assistance programs as part of the recovery efforts for those affected by the Marshall fire.
Still, the way forward can be daunting and overwhelming, depending on those who have been through the pain before.
It’s a pain Courtney and Todd Walsh know all too well after losing their home to Calwood Fire in Boulder County in 2020.
“It was a feeling of loss, just hopelessness,” said Courtney Walsh. “You are completely lost.”
FOX31 spoke with Courtney Walsh to hear advice from those in a similar situation following the Marshall fire.
How are people probably feeling right now?
“You kind of have this, 1-2-3, take care of this, take care of that, you kind of have that adrenaline rush to get through the initial stages of loss,” she said. . “And you don’t really know what’s useful. It is difficult to really answer this question. Because if you need everything, so are you – at the same time, you don’t need anything at all. You’ve just lost everything you’ve ever had, so figuring out exactly what you need right now is really, really hard.
What should the victims do right away?
Walsh said the first few weeks were extremely busy, with calls from loved ones, browsing insurance claims and finding temporary accommodation. She said it is essential to take a step back and breathe.
“I think one of the things I wish I had been more open to was accepting help. I don’t think I was used to accepting help, ”Walsh said. “Being able to really accept help and be vulnerable to allowing the community to accept help, from food to clothing to monetary donations, I think is difficult. to understand initially that you might actually need these things, and in the long run, these things have all been extremely helpful.
How can the community best help?
Walsh said the community’s support in the wake of the Calwood fire was overwhelming, but said it was sometimes difficult for people to know exactly how to help. She says tangible things like gift cards are extremely useful, especially for food and toys for children.
“Consciously assemble clothes that you would like to wear if you lost everything. It’s really important, ”she said. “Nobody wants big garbage bags of dirty underwear and t-shirts, and after the fire we became a thrift store. People left garbage bags of clothes, and it was really humiliating and difficult. “
“It’s a long process after losing a home. It’s a long process to rebuild the life and the goods and the things you want and need, and I think it surprised me, it was the long process, not just the emotional process, but rebuilding your life, ”she said. “There is lightness in starting over.
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