Via is a designated second responder for Boulder County in the event of an emergency. Thankfully, it’s not often that we’re asked to step into that role.
When the CalWood and Lefthand Canyon Wildfires broke out earlier this month, the emergency management team reached out to Via to be on standby. We prepared to help evacuate any residents who might need assistance or access to an accessible vehicle.
We reached out to drivers to see if they would be willing to help with evacuations. Several drivers stepped up and were placed on standby in Nederland. While we did receive one request, no evacuations were carried out that first night. But, we knew we were in for a busy week, and we prepared to remain on standby until the fires were under control.
On Wednesday, October 21, as the CalWood fire moved closer to Lyons, our team was called to help evacuate a client who uses a wheelchair. This rider had only recently started using Via, so we made sure to send her favorite driver to help her evacuate. As evacuations continued, our team remained on standby, ready to help other Lyons residents.
Last week, the client’s daughter shared that “It brought us both a tremendous amount of peace of mind knowing that I could call you and set up a ride home for my mom on Sunday. And that the driver would be Susan was simply amazing. When she heard that, she began breathing more easily and settled in to wait until it was safe for her to return home. It means the world to us that you were there, in kindness and care, and that you went above and beyond to get her home safely during your off-hours.”
Later that week, when the East Troublesome fire jumped the Continental Divide, Estes Park was put on mandatory evacuation orders. As soon as we heard that mandatory evacuations were in progress, we sent two drivers to Estes Park to retrieve our vehicle and see if there was anything they could do to help. That night, we were able to help evacuate seven people to Fort Collins.
In challenging times, our team shines. More than a few of our amazing drivers stepped up with offers to help.
We hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.