Last week, SVdP’s Disaster Services Corporation conducted a customized training on DSC’s Programs for over 25 Vincentians within the SVdP Denver Metro Council and associated Conferences. The training focused on how Councils and Conferences can leverage DSC’s grants and programs to build capacity for the local Vincentian response to the devastating wildfires that recently swept across Colorado. In addition, DSC spent a large portion of the training focusing on how Vincentians can provide Disaster Case Management services to wildfire survivors.
Vincentians from St. Michael the Archangel Parish Conference joined other northern Colorado Vincentians in directly assisting Marshall fire survivors. We partnered with Catholic Charities representatives operating out of the Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) in Lafayette last month. Officials say that over 900 homes were destroyed and at least another 300 were damaged in the Marshall fire.
Survivors needed housing, food, and clothing assistance. A few were from the St. Louis Parish, the church that was undamaged but located in Louisville where many houses were lost. We met Deacon Dan from St. Louis Parish who said that the church was saved but that he lost his home to the fire. He did not lose his sense of humor as he explained that he is working both sides of the table.
There was little or no warning for most people due to rapid spread of the fire. One couple who had their dog with them said they had no warning and just got their pet and sped off. A woman told us she was on a recurring IV treatment in the Louisville hospital when the hospital evacuation started. Her house was lost.
SVdP activities in Denver began in 1876. Fr. Terry Kissell initiated the formation of the Conference in April 2011. The Conference was aggregated in 2014 in Paris, France. St. Michael the Archangel is one of 28 Conferences that make up the Denver Metro Council. They work closely and often with the Denver Metro Council and other parish Conferences.