Just weeks after graduating from CC, Scott Winkler, an integral member of the hockey team and one of the kindest souls on campus, passed away at home in Norway.
We were robbed of the chance to ever know Paul Nahon, an incoming transfer student from Missouri who was slated to play on the tennis team. Nahon died after a fall while hiking on Long’s Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.
And then there were the natural disasters.
The Pikes Peak region burned yet again, then flooded as the last embers simmered out in Black Forest and the Royal Gorge.
Almost 500 homes burned in Black Forest and dozens more were damaged and destroyed in and around Manitou Springs after floods from the Waldo Canyon burn scar sent charred debris rocketing down canyons near Ute Pass.
People were uprooted, and some lost their lives.
I saw destruction here so powerful that it made headlines throughout the country, which brought love and support from all over.
Our college community and the region are limping — were trying to get back on our feet and head forward. And we can. And we will.
Before a morning press conference for the Black Forest fire in mid-June, I began listening to conversation between two women who had come to hear if their homes had survived the blaze the night before.
An overnight infrared flyover showed that the fire was most intense in pockets near their front doors, making hope a hard thing to come by.
One of the women had a broken leg and was using a scooter to get around the grassy area near the Rampart Range Campus of the Pikes Peak Community College, which had become the media hub.
This woman was working her way toward the microphone mount where El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa was preparing to address dozens of media personnel when a videographer boxed her out.
She scoffed at the videographer, and then scooted back, smiling.
After the conference, I went up and expressed my frustration that someone would interfere during such a sensitive time and to say how I hoped her home would be OK.
She told me parts of her story — how she had packed up all her belongings and sped away from the fire with smoke in her rearview mirror. She hurried the kids and her belongings into a car and left thinking she would never see her home again.
“What are you going to do if it’s gone?” I asked her.
She paused for a minute, looked down and then back at me.
“If our house burned down, I can deal with it in a frantic way or I can see the silver lining,” she said. “I want to see the silver lining.”
Jesse Paul, Editor-in-Chief
Contact Jesse Paul at 302-528-7118 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @JesseAPaul