Aug 27, 2012 12:27 AM by Jacqui Heinrich
Sunday was a time of recovery for a community devastated by the Waldo Canyon Fire. Mountain Shadows homeowners used to looking at a burned-out shell of what was once a neighborhood now view a work in progress, healing at the hands of strangers determined to lift that reminder of loss.
345 Air Force Academy Cadets took on a massive cleanup effort, chopping down burned trees and bushes left standing since the fire and doing fire mitigation work to prevent future burns. They worked on over 100 homes and hundreds of acres.
Homeowners left to deal with much of the devastation on their own were grateful for the help. Adele Mueller told News 5, "I've just been working out here a lot for the last month and today they've done as much work as we could do in 6 months."
Cadets weren't shy about getting dirty; they say they were excited by the opportunity to serve this community as they'll one day serve this nation. William Kent, an AFA Cadet, said, "It shows that Colorado Springs is together, when something happens we come together and help each other out."
The city is expected to collect the hundreds of piles of brush and debris the Cadets gathered; an estimate of how many tons of material they removed is expected soon.