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Effort underway to assist facility destroyed in Boulder fire

Many of you may have heard of the recent fire over Labor Day that devastated the mountain areas west of Boulder. I have direct connections to that area.

Ten miles west of Boulder near the tiny town of Gold Hill, lies Colorado Mountain Ranch (formerly known as Trojan Ranch) It’s a wonderful summer camp for kids. Built back in 1947 by Coach and Norma Walker -, it’s been operated continuously by the Walker family for 63 years, touching and changing the lives of children all over the country.

In 1968, I was a troubled teen, struggling with all the turmoil of city life in Dallas ,Texas. My mother along with three other friends’ parents, decided to send us away for the summer, to keep us out of trouble and maybe turn us in a new direction.

This was my first introduction to the beauty of the mountains. My first shooting star, the beauty of a camp fire, sleeping under the stars, climbing a mountain ... too many things to mention, but things that stay forever in your soul. It was magic and it truly changed my life.

I entered that world as an angry and defiant teen, and evolved with a secure sense of myself and the world that I don’t believe I could have found in any other life experience. I returned to the camp for six more summers, growing stronger with my confidence with each passing year. I couldn’t wait to get there every year, and I developed friendships through those years that last today. How lucky was I to have this in my life. The love I found there of the mountains is what eventually brought me to Pagosa.

Unfortunately a lot changed for Colorado Mountain Ranch during that terrible fire a few weeks ago. Although the beautiful old log lodge that Coach built still stands, they suffered the loss of their house, horse barn, corral, tools and many out buildings. They were able to evacuate 36 horses and most of the saddles and tack. Much of it was underinsured.

Despite of all the loss, the Walker family is determined to rebuild and open again next summer. I’m determined to help. I’ve begun collecting anything anyone is willing to donate. The most needed being tools and materials which they will need to rebuild. My husband, Chris, and I plan to make a delivery to the ranch this weekend, and again in the coming weeks. If anyone out there wants to help with our effort, please contact me, Summer Phillips, at 264-6600 or 731-3846. I am determined to help these wonderful people once again to be able to change children’s lives. We need this so much in this crazy world . Help me, help them. You can contact them directly at www.coloradomountainranch.com or facebook. Colorado Mountain Ranch.