Colorado Wildfire: Veteran Organizations Rally to Help Those Affected

by Josh Lanier

The fast-moving Marshall fire burned through Colorado over the weekend, destroying more than 1,000 homes and uprooting countless lives. Photos of the aftermath made the beautiful Colorado vistas look like a lunar landscape. Thankfully, there are no reported deaths from the blaze so far, but two people are still missing.

Homeowners got the chance to return home recently and assess the damage. It’s going to take a lot to rebuild, and some veteran groups hope to help out.

Jacqueline Hemhauser and her husband Ryan, run Disgruntled Vets, a group dedicated to helping veterans any way they can. They decided they need to get involved after seeing images of the devastation online.

“Everyone was posting videos and pictures of the uncertainty: ‘Is my house going to be there tomorrow?’” Jacqueline said. “And it broke my heart. So, when I went home, and I showed my husband, and we looked at each other, and we knew he had to do something.”

Ryan Hemhauser reached out to other veteran groups to bolster their efforts.

“We are both from New Jersey, so hurricanes are what we are used to,” Ryan said. “So, now being in Colorado and seeing something like this, we had to get involved. She lost her house in a hurricane and knows what the pain is. So this was a no-brainer at all.”

Disgruntled Vets, 22 Until None, and other local veterans groups joined forces to start a fundraiser. They are collecting cash and household items to give to those who lost everything in the Marshall fire. The outpouring of support was unbelievable.

“We’ve done kind of donation drives before, but this is by far the biggest that we’ve accomplished. Just to see Colorado come together for our people is really, really cool,” Hemhauser said.

The outpouring of support was overwhelming.

Donations Flood In For Coloardo Marshall Fire Victims

Christopher Ruble, assistant program director for 22 Until None, expected a good turnout but nothing like this. They got so much they are having to find bigger trucks to deliver it.

“We were thinking some blankets, some household goods, dog food,” he said. “We were thinking a truckload of stuff. We’re looking at a U-Haul truck now.”

They raised almost $10,000 in a few days. That includes food and household items, some donated cash. That money is used to buy Amazon gift cards and purchase more needed.

Greg Bel, President of the Enlisted Association Local Chapter I, said the outpouring of support shows why that community is so special.

‘“We’ve all experienced the effects of these events, these natural disasters, and it’s time for us to naturally stand up and that’s what veterans do and that’s what people in Colorado Springs do.”

If you want to donate to the cause don’t send perishable food. Organizers say they need bottled water and toiletries. If you have any spare boxes send those as well. They need something to transport these items.