MANCOS As the Weber Fire continued to blacken land in the Mancos region and smoke fell in a thick blanket on the small community, people in town took time to show their appreciation to the fire personnel working hard to save structures, and lives, in the area.
Signs were visible in the widows and on the doors of many Mancos businesses, proclaiming deep gratitude for the efforts of the men and women on the front lines of the blaze.
Thank you firefighters! God Bless our Firefighters Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
A large sign on the corner of U.S. Highway 160 and Main Street outside Zuma Natural Foods, proclaimed, Firefighters & Officers, THANK YOU!! Coffees on us! Zuma owners Steve and Cynthia Klumker said the offer of free beverages was the least they could do for the efforts being made by the firefighters.
We see so many go by and they are just exhausted, and they are working so hard, and that was the only thing we could think to do that was something they could grab and go, Cynthia said. (Sunday) night we made smoothies and one of our employees was offering sandwiches.
Zuma is also one of a few locations in Mancos collecting monetary donations for the Mancos Volunteer Fire Department. More than $400 dollars has been raised since Sunday.
The community wanted to do something to get together and help, Cynthia said. We know they dont get paid, so this is something we can do for them.
In addition to fund-raising efforts, locals have been donating food and water to the Red Cross and firefighters over the past few days.
The efforts of the community to show its appreciation have been noticed by fire officials.
We appreciate the community so much and the outpouring of support and the questions asking what we can do to help, said Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell at a community briefing in Mancos on Monday. There have been so many things donated by individuals and Walmart and the (Ute Mountain) Casino. It is great to live in a community that is so concerned about its brothers and sisters.
Connie Clementson, Bureau of Land Managements agency administrator for the fire, said the support has been overwhelming.
The support and donations and people willing to help has been unbelievable, Clementson said.
Mancos resident Nadia Hebard, who hasnt been evacuated from her home, but has opened up her property for evacuated livestock, said the reaction of the community wasnt surprising.
I think that is the mentality of this type of community, Hebard said. There is a traditional sense of people being together in situations and this is just and example of that.
For people like Stacy Hess, who was evacuated from her home at Deer Mountain Properties on Sunday, the support of the community and work of the firefighters has left her humbled.
Im so grateful at what they are doing for us, she said. They are doing everything to save our structures and we owe them everything. This community has come around us and it has just meant so much.
For information on donations to the Mancos Volunteer Fire Department, contact Zuma Natural Foods at 533-7300. For volunteer opportunities, contact the Red Cross at 317-4019 or stop by the evacuation center at the Cortez High School.
Reach Kimberly Benedict at [email protected]