Grateful for good neighbors | AspenTimes.com

Grateful for good neighbors

I’m sure there were many dramas played out during the Missouri Heights fire. Mine was just one of them.

I had left for a trip to Idaho when the fire started. My 34 llamas and two horses were under the capable supervision of Gaye Lewis, who lives at nearby Someday Ranch. Although an able horsewoman, she had never handled a llama.

I convinced her that the main herd would be in the pasture grazing and she would only have to deal with the four that were in pens. Since llamas are gentle and the rest of the herd had grass and water, the job seemed fairly innocuous when Gaye agreed to help. Boy was she wrong!

Her first day on the job turned into a nightmare. She had to decide what to do about evacuating animals that not only weren’t hers, but also were foreign to her.

With the fire less than a mile away she and countless others scrambled to catch, halter and load all these free roaming animals into trailers. The horses ended up at the Strang Ranch, thanks to Judy Brown and Ed Sanditen; the llamas at Gaye’s; and Carol Neiuwenhuizen, a neighbor I didn’t even know, took in the cats.

Lynn Kirchner, who was the real estate broker I had worked with two years earlier, made sure that my truck, trailer, computer and personal effects were safe. Now that’s what I call loyalty past the date of sale.

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From what I have heard, there were many other people involved in the evacuation. I do not have their names. To all of them I am grateful.

I also want to thank the person who answered the phone on the update line. He was so calm and pleasant, he helped keep my stress at a manageable level.

If it weren’t for the quick action of the firefighters, the blaze would surely have ripped across my place. But if it had, the animals would have been safe. A house can be rebuilt.

With neighbors like these, I know I made the right choice when I moved to Colorado. Thanks to you all.

Linda B. Hayes

Missouri Heights

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