It's been a long time since Aimee Purdue, 84, has been able to see out onto her property, but with the help of some dedicated volunteers she now can.
Over Labor Day weekend, a local Monument business, a couple of churches and the Westcott Fire Department spent the day mitigating Purdue's property.
“I'm so happy. They're all so generous,” Purdue said.
Jerry Fristoe, owner of Integrity Roofing and Painting in Monument, said the mitigation efforts are all part of being proactive and spreading the love of Christ.
“We want to be the functioning body of Christ in the workplace and to encourage other believers to do the same,” Fristoe said.
After the Waldo Canyon Fire last year, Fristoe said they wanted to respond but there were so many others that stepped in and then the Black Forest Fire happened and they knew they had to help the community.
“We want to be proactive,” Fristoe added.
They were looking for people in the Tri-Lakes area that were in real need of mitigation and weren't capable of doing it themselves, so they enlisted the help of Margo Humes, fire marshal at Westcott. She knew of properties in the Westcott Fire District that could really use it.
Employees of Integrity Roofing and Painting, along with members of Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church and Righteous Mitigation, who sent out a team of tree cutters, went out to Purdue's property and cut down trees, raked pine needles, mowed and cleared scrub oak on the five acres. Many members of Freedom Church in Colorado Springs, the church Fristoe attends and that has several members who live in the Tri-Lakes area, also were on hand to help mitigate and feed the volunteer's lunch. Some of Purdue's neighbors also lent a hand.
“It was so overgrown. I could not believe the difference. They went above and beyond what I expected,” Humes said. “I cannot say enough good things about them.”
Purdue said the house was built in 1976 and construction was started on the home the day her husband retired from the U.S. Air Force Academy. At one time she said there were so many trees they couldn't see the sky and they eventually had some of the trees cut around their deck.
“You just can't keep up with it,” Purdue said.
Humes said she believes in service and it meant a lot to her that one community came out to help another.
“We should be helping each other,” Humes said, adding that she hopes that residents in the Westcott Fire District will return the favor and help another community.
“It felt like this little miracle descended down. There was a special spirit there, a spirit of community. They brought with them a Christ-like spirit,” Humes said.
Humes said she has been talking to hundreds of homeowners about mitigating and telling them that they can't wait until another wild land fire to start mitigating. She said people truly need to be proactive. She reminds people that September is National Preparedness Month, so homeowners need to get prepared.
She said she has other properties that are in need of mitigating and hopes to have a group of cadets from the Air Force Academy come out and help next time.
Fristoe said his business and the churches will team together again to work on a few more properties that they have lined up.
“This place has been transformed. I want to encourage other Christian business owners to be the pastor of their business and meet the needs of those in need,” Fristoe said.