The past two weeks have been quite a learning experience for our family as our Colorado son and his family were evacuated from their home due to a monstrous wildfire.

The past two weeks have been quite a learning experience for our family as our Colorado son and his family were evacuated from their home due to a monstrous wildfire.
For a couple days before the mandatory evacuation order was issued, smoke and flames could be easily see on the mountainsides not too far northwest of their home. At the time of this writing, the Spring Creek Fire had consumed well over 100,000 acres and many homes. Located just off of Highway 160 west of Walsenburg, is the community of La Veta.
With a population of around 800 residents, the town doubled in size with the presence of several hundred firefighters and National Guardsmen. The valiant efforts of these individuals appear to have paid off as the advancing tsunami of fire was halted a mere two miles from town!
Another endangered community was the quaint and historic community of Cuchara located in the mountains on Highway 12 - 10 miles or so west of La Veta. That’s always a favorite place of mine to visit and have a delicious meal at The Dog Bar!
The air is fresh and clean and always has a wonderful smell of pine trees. But not this week. Out-of- control flames roared toward the village as thick smoke darkened the sky. But once again, the firefighters were victorious! For more than 40 years, rain (or snow) or shine, the little village of Cuchara proudly holds a 4th of July parade on the 4th!
 In an awesome display of patriotism and community spirit, 8 local firefighters managed to get their vehicle to the front street of Cuchara on the 4th of July. Wearing their ash-smudged fire fighting gear and holding the American flag high, they kept the tradition alive!!!!!!
The clean-up and recovery will begin soon. Anything and everything we can do to stand with them through this tough time will be greatly appreciated, I’m sure. See if you can find the picture I mentioned – Cuchara 4th of July parade 2018! The lesson I learned through this – “when the fire comes, we stick together!”  

Doug Gripka is the pastor of Newtonia Baptist Church and writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.