This is the last post of the Jamestown Connect. The website will remain up and available as a historical archive of the first year after the Great Jamestown Flood of 2013.
It was exactly one year ago today, to the minute (5:31 AM), that I published the first post, two days after Nancy and I were evacuated.
Sitting in Kara and Waldy’s house in Longmont (after they rescued Nancy, the pets, and me from the teeth rattling Blackhawk helicopter drop-off and Niwot High School, and put a roof over our heads for six weeks), I kept checking the QT for status and critical information, like how to contact FEMA, or when could I drive back to town in a borrowed car. But it was hard to find facts because there were so many messages scrolling by so fast from concerned friends and family.
I wished I had a resource that gave me just the factual information that we needed. Then it occurred to me that if I needed that then other residents did too.
So I started the Jamestown Connect with the idea that it would only contain immediately useful information for evacuees. Over the months the mission expanded to include:
- Recovery-related actionable information and announcements of immediate interest
- Posts of interest to the community that I hoped would help people find some peace, such as Flood Journals and the Shadow posts
- Posts of better days before the flood to help us remember how it will be again, such as Sunday Reflection
- With rare exception I did not post pictures of the disaster unless it helped tell a particular story, such as a few before and after photos. (However, I did create the Jamestown Shoebox linked to the site to be a collecting place for disaster and other photos by community photographers.)
Jamestown Connect gained a following, and I appreciate the many nice things that people have said to me about the website. The year’s stats include:
- 402 posts
- 36 Sunday Reflections
- Over 53,000 views
- Over 300 followers by email
- Visitors from more than 30 countries
- Numerous “likes” on Facebook
But the site was always meant to be temporary, as the banner says, “ . . . until we are together again.” Now, a year later, about 90% of the households have returned home. Some will never return.
A year ago I naively thought there will soon come a day when “we’ll be back to normal.” That was before I saw the devastation up close and personal and could comprehend the implications. Now it’s clear that the old normal may never be again. We are evolving to a new normal and I can’t predict what that looks like or when Jamestown will be there.
It may be years before there is a full recovery and the flood is a distant memory. But we have come a long way in a year thanks to the tenacity of Jimbillys and help from FEMA, State of Colorado. Boulder County, Red Cross, United Way, faith-based groups (like the Texas Baptists, Salvation Army, and Mennonite Disaster Services), and an army of volunteers, to name a few. And last but not least, our hard working and dedicated Town Government. But I think we would have become just another abandoned mountain ghost town were it not for the remarkable leadership of our mayor, Tara Schoedinger.
In the last year we have gone from looking like this:
Clearly, we have come a long way. But there is a long way to go.
This is the spirit that will take us there . . .
To stay abreast of important information and the continued recovery, use these resources:
- the QT
- Jamestown Newsletters
- Jamestown web site
- If you are a resident, make sure you are on the town’s email list. Call the Town Office if you aren’t receiving town emails: 303.449.1806
- Attend Community Meetings
I’d like to end with this photo of Shadow who has become the symbol of Jamestown’s survival and resilience. As John Hardman said, “Meow-tain Strong!”
Regards and thanks for being the most amazing community that I could ever imagine.