Communities Together

senior sceneMy mother recalled her teen years in England in World War II as a time of hardship and close community. She lived in town, but worked hard in the fields harvesting crops and pulling the tough flax plants for fabric. Rationing placed everyone on the same economic scale and all survived on less for the common good. All ages pitched in as they could for the war effort. What struck her most was how everyone pulled together, made sacrifices, worked harder, and helped each other in a strong sense of community, both locally and as a nation.

Traumatic events bond communities. We don’t ask for catastrophes, we don’t want them, but inevitably they find us. Last month’s floods wreaked havoc much like a bombing zone, and we are grateful that almost everyone survived, although some face extreme hardships in recovery. Nederland emerged relatively unscathed, only incurring the inconvenience and expense of our canyon road closure for over three weeks. Some fought water in crawlspaces and basements from saturated ground, but recognized how little damage we suffered compared to our mountain and plains neighbors.

We reached out to friends in Four Mile who recently survived horrendous fires only to now incur torrential rains trenching their properties and destroying their roads. We worried about friends in Coal Creek Canyon isolated by road collapse and prayed they had stocked in enough food. Estes Park and Lyons, cut off from everyone by road destruction, scrambled to recover from lost homes and utility outages and are slowly emerging, battered but rebuilding. Jamestown will never be the same after floods split the town and required air rescue out. Houses and cars were isolated or destroyed. Many have abandoned homes that are useless without road access or running water, a utility that may remain absent through the winter.

Stories of people helping abound. The few hundred residents of Jamestown not only pitched in to help each other recover from the devastation, but have appreciated the help of hundreds of volunteers. Some show up with physical help and others raise funds elsewhere to help pay what FEMA cannot as they face $35 million in infrastructure repairs. Recently, residents of Gold Hill cooked food and brought it to those working hard to restore functionality to Jamestown.

Even with all the electronic and social media available to update us in times of trouble, people come together to share stories, a meal, and a safe common space. The people of Coal Creek Canyon gathered in such numbers they ran out of food at their community pancake breakfast. Nederland sought company and information at an abundant potluck dinner a few days after the flood. We celebrated how lucky we were – this time – and rallied help for neighbors.

Nederland Area Seniors invites the community to come together again to swap stories and ideas over a meal. Now that our canyon has reopened and life is getting back on track for local folks, we invite local families and those still in recovery mode in neighboring towns to take a break and enjoy a hearty community breakfast together. The all-ages meal launches a great family event day in Nederland, with two other nonprofit organizations hosting popular annual events. TEENS, Inc.’s Howl’o’Ween Ned, a Halloween party for younger children, runs from 11:30am to 2:00pm at the Youth and Family Center on Barker Reservoir and Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center’s annual Enchanted Forest at Mud Lake (ride a shuttle from the shopping mall parking lot) runs 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

PANCAKE BREAKFAST: THIS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26, 8:00am until Noon, Nederland Community Center. Eggs, Sausage, Coffee, Orange Juice, and All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes. Adults $7, Seniors $5, Kids Under 12 $4. Proceeds benefit non-profit Nederland Area Seniors. Please join us in celebrating everyone who survived the natural disaster and the crews who worked hard to reopen our canyon road – may we never take anything for granted.

Everyone is invited to the Nederland Area Seniors luncheon at the Nederland Community Center at noon. A donation of $4 is requested from those over 60 years of age and $8.25 all others, but no seniors are turned away due to inability to pay. Please make reservations by 4pm Friday for Monday lunch and 4pm Monday for Wednesday lunch at 303-258-0799.

Monday, October 28: Turkey Sandwich on Whole Wheat, Chunky Vegetable Soup, Citrus
Wednesday, October 30: Baked Ham, Chopped Spinach, Baked Potato/Roll, Berries

Serene Karplus

About the Author: Serene Karplus – is the Executive Director of the Nederland Area Seniors, Inc. (NAS) which assists senior citizens in enhancing their quality of life, enabling them to live a life of respect and honor.  This is accomplished through the facilitation of nutrition, transportation, education, recreation, socialization and outreach programs for all seniors living in the Greater Nederland Area. Serene is a contributor to The Mountain-Ear with her Senior Scene column.