Hello, my name is May Miller and I am the spouse of Tim Miller. My husband serves in the Army on active duty and we are currently stationed at Fort Knox, KY. Several weeks ago I received a phone call from a close friend of mine and we talked about how things were going in our lives and she briefly mentioned that she could see a small wildfire up near Pikes Peak, Colo. (just west of Colorado Springs). She said that she noticed the smoke but that it wasn't bad and it was probably going to be put out shortly. She sent me a picture of it and it looked like some smoke but nothing major. That was June 23.
On June 24 I called her and she said it was still going but still nothing major. That following Tuesday, June 26, so many lives were changed forever. The winds picked up speed (about 65 mph) and the canyon where the fire was got so hot that it "exploded" and jumped the ridge of the mountain and rolled down into a subdivision in Colorado Springs. So many people were evacuated and their lives will never be the same. Almost 350 homes were completely destroyed and thousands are now homeless.
I contacted my mother and told her what was going on and told her that several of my military family/friends live in that particular subdivision and that they had no idea the fate of the homes. I realize that a house is a house, but a home is a home. A home for people in the military community is something that we "make" every 3-4 years or so. Every place that we move to we make into a home for our family and the people that surround us are not just people we meet, they are our family. We are there for each other during our most stressed times, when our spouses are deployed, they are there for us when our children are sick and we do not have any "immediate" family close to help. We depend on each other. That is what a military family does. You have no choice but to rely on others for help. It takes a strong family to do this.
For the past 13 years I have learned to do this, as my family any myself moves about every three years. We have to say good bye to the people that we have learned to depend on and every now and then we meet someone or a family that sticks with us forever. This is the type of family that I made in Colorado Springs. When my husband, Tim was deployed to Afghanistan shortly (about 45 days) after moving to Colorado, my daughter, Hannah and I did not know anyone or even know our way around. I finally met a few people and started my new job at a clinic on Fort Carson. I met two wonderful friends, one of which is directly affected by the fire. hey were there for me when I needed someone the most. Through all the crying and being scared for Tim and not knowing if he was ok and wondering when I would hear from him. When my basement got flooded they were right there helping me clean it up. When the starter went out on my car and I was stranded, right there they were. When we got four feet of snow and I didn't have 4 wheel drive yet, there they were to pick me and Hannah up to go to the grocery store to get food for our house. These people are my family too.
This brings me to the reason why I am writing. I have family (my mother and father, Colin and Ann Doig, my sister, my brother, my mother-in-law, my father-in-law and his wife, among many nieces and nephews and other in-laws) that live in Sistersville and surrounding communities. After I spoke with my mom and told her about the military families that were being affected from the wildfire, she contacted the VFW and American Legion. Cathy Post and her got together and conducted a drive to collect needed items for these families. The response was amazing. Even during Sistersville and Tyler County's time of need (that horrible storm that came through and tore up the communities), the amazing people of these communities still had big enough hearts to think of the people in need in Colorado. Thank you.
The City of Sistersville and Middlebourne never cease to amaze me and that is because of the people residing there. These people there felt the need to help and that is what they did. Thank you again. And a special thank you to the VFW and American Legion of Sistersville, Ann Doig, and Cathy Post.
May M. Miller
Fort Knox, KY