“I think [volunteering] really helped to bring the community together. They laughed, they cried, and they worked together. It helped people heal a little bit.”
How have you overcome obstacles in your life?
Volunteers pitched in as soon as they could. During the evacuation, 134 ham radio operators kept emergency communication channels open. Led by the Kramer family, volunteers at the Elks Lodge cooked more than 50,000 hot meals for firefighters and emergency personnel. Sue Dummer at the De Colores restaurant made 120 gallons of chile sauce every day to keep New Mexican first responders fed and happy.
As people returned to town, they wanted to help the forest regrow. The denuded hillsides threatened to allow dangerous floods in the approaching summer rains. The community organized work parties to prevent flooding, to make trails safe for use, and to plant seeds and seedlings. The volunteer response was overwhelming. More than 400 people helped on the first Saturday, and by the end of the year, some 2,000 volunteers filled 60,600 sandbags, worked on 19.2 miles of trail, and raked, seeded, and mulched more than 490 acres of land.
Header photo by Vint Miller, courtesy Los Alamos County.
Were you here for the Cerro Grande Fire? Click here to share your story with us and to read stories of resilience from friends and neighbors.
When the Los Alamos History Museum reopens, join us in the Guest Cottage to see Resilience and Regrowth in person. The museum exhibit has the space to share even more photographs, artifacts, and personal stories.
Thank you for your donations that made this exhibit possible!
Nancy and John Bartlit
Stephen A. Becker
Brent and Robyn Collom
John S. Hendricks
Hans and Ryn Hermann
Linda and Bob Hill
Mary Pat Kraemer
Robert C. Moore
Ben and Ruth Neal
Deborah and Rick Reiss
John and Kit Ruminer
Santa Fe New Mexican
Georgia and Gerry Strickfaden
Cherie and Andy Trottier
Roger Waterman and Emily McGay
In creating this online exhibit, the Los Alamos Historical Society is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Mexico Humanities Council.