After the flood in Colorado, representatives from St. Cloud State University, with support from ABRA, organized a trip to the Boulder area to bring much needed supplies to an ABRA employee who lost everything and an elementary school which was housing many families who had lost their homes. Below you’ll find photos from the trip and an account of the story.
We rented a large SUV to carry all of the supplies down to Colorado to save on gas and rental fees. We packed that thing to the top, and even had some things on the floor by our feet!
We left Minneapolis around 9:15pm on Saturday night. Around 1am, we were just North of Des Moines area and started getting a little tired. After stopping to wake up a bit and replenish our coffee we started getting hyped up again for the rest of the drive. Shortly after getting back on the road, we noticed headlights coming towards us on the highway and thought we must be seeing things. Realizing that the SUV was in our lane heading towards us, we swerved into the other lane as he passed us going the wrong way on the freeway. After seeing another 3 vehicles swerving and almost needing some car repair ourselves, we decided we couldn’t wait to get out of Iowa! The rest of the night was pretty easy to get through though since we were now extremely awake and beyond aware!
We arrived in Denver around 11am after multiple stops to take breaks from the long never ending but beautiful hay fields in Nebraska. After stopping at Walmart for a few extra items, we headed to ABRA in Longmont to meet the employees. Along the way, we saw some damage that really made us realize how long this will take for Denver to recoup everything that was damaged or destroyed. When we met with ABRA employees, we were meet with thankfulness and gratefulness for SCSU and ABRA to be thinking of them in this hard time.
An ABRA employee and her fiancé were the main focus as they lost everything. They recently moved into a rental house, and purchased a ton of new things for it a week before the flood. The force of the flood water outside of her house blew out all of her windows and started flooding the house. She literally had to be rescued from her house because she couldn’t escape the force of the water coming in. (Unfortunately I am told her vast array shoes did not make it, which her fiancé teasingly reminds her while we are visiting with them.) It was amazing how much they didn’t want to take supplies because they were just thankful that they were alive and had a place to temporarily stay when so many others didn’t or lost their lives. We were able to convince them that they need the help right now so they took supplies home. All of the other body shop employees were somehow lucky enough to suffer little or no damage even though some of them were extremely close to the flood path! I really feel like all of the ABRA employees were so amazing at the thought of wanting to help others and just making do themselves versus taking supplies they felt they could get by without or were able to purchase themselves. The character they showed was inspirational!
Since UoC-Boulder didn’t want any of the supplies we considered what donation site we should bring them to. The ABRA employee we helped got extremely excited and told us that her mother is a nurse at the Bella Romera Elementary School in Greeley, CO. The school is in a lower income area and is given a very limited budget to work with. After more research we found out that 800 of the families of students lost everything. Some of them were even sleeping in the gym and recreational center because they had nowhere to go. We all decided that this was definitely a place that could utilize the rest of the supplies. So we headed to a hotel to get some sleep. Being extremely over tired, we actually had a really hard time falling asleep and were unable to do so, until we were about 41 or so hours without sleep.
Monday morning we drove up to the elementary school and went to the school. We walked in to the Principals office to let him know a St. Cloud State University student and her friend were here with supplies from ABRA employees/friends/SCSU Students and faculty all the way from Minnesota. They were elated! As we started to bring in multiple trips with a flat bed, they just couldn’t believe their eyes! Even some of the students were like “whoa”! We met with the Principal and Vice Principal briefly (school was in session) and then headed out.
Our next stop was the University of Colorado – Boulder. There we met with the student government president Ellie to hear more about the things UCB went through because of the flooding. We even met with the off-campus staff to hear more about how they are helping students deal with landlords and getting them somewhere to live, including free meal cards, hotel stays, and replacing up to $500 in the current semesters books if they were damaged. After a brief tour of the campus, we headed out to grab lunch and then bring the SUV back in the late afternoon.
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing (for a change!) and reveling in the fact that we were done driving, lifting, and running 24/7. And now we are about to board and head home!
Thank you to ABRA and SCSU for doing this wonderful thing!