By Judy Cale, CBDR, Public Information Officer
Spring Storm “Ulmer” affected one of our own tremendously! Ponderosa Retreat and Conference Center in Larkspur needed help with the mitigation of over twenty downed trees. They were expecting groups for Spring Break to check-in within a few days, but had trees and branches laying everywhere including on the roof of the gymnasium. As the trees were dropping, Marcus Rawls called Dennis Belz, the Colorado Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Director, for help. Immediately Dennis placed a Call Out to Colorado Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. Two days later, and having to shovel out our recovery units from the 3 to 4-foot snow drifts, forty-six volunteers from CBDR, and churches arrived at 9:00 AM. Eager men, women, and children wearing boots and bundled up in layers were ready to help. After a time of prayer, volunteers were placed into groups. Shortly thereafter, the buzzing of chainsaws could be heard all around. Several had brought their own chainsaws, which made the work move even more quickly. After the trees and limbs were cut, slash teams loaded the branches and small limbs onto flatbed trailers to be hauled off. Marcus was amazed at how fast the work was being completed.
Lots of laughter and fellowship could be heard during a hearty lunch prepared by the Ponderosa staff. Several seasoned CBDR volunteers got reacquainted and reminisced after not having seen each other since the fall of 2018 during the Spring Fire in La Veta. After a big thank you from Marcus, the teams returned to their locations to finish their work. Meanwhile, Dennis and Marcus, drove to the surrounding neighborhood to see if any homes were affected. Five homeowners had downed trees with one having a 250-year-old Ponderosa pine landing on his roof with two limbs into the house. After the work at Ponderosa Retreat and Conference Center was accomplished, several chainsaw teams were sent to help the nearby homeowners.
Neighborhood homeowners, Diego and Emily, had a 50-foot Ponderosa pine that fell in their yard. They were so grateful it did not land on their home, or their car which was parked in the driveway. Within two hours, it was all cut up and the slash removed. Neighbors from across the street came out and greeted the volunteers thanking them profusely for helping Diego and Emily. Being a working family with two young children, they had had no idea how they were going to clean up their large front yard. As the team was packing up their equipment, they asked Emily and Diego if they could pray for them. They all joined hands on the porch and prayed for the future of this young family. Just before the team left, Emily exclaimed, “This would have cost us so much of our time and money! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you have done!”
The forty-six volunteers donated a total of 342.5 hours of their Saturday helping Ponderosa Encampment and their neighbors in the Larkspur area after a horrific snow storm. A total of 51 trees were cut! As stated in Matthew 22:39, “…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (ESV), these volunteers were showing Christ-like love for others through their skills, hard work, and effort.