Jun 12, 2014 12:48 AM by Maddie Garrett

Celebrating One Year of Recovery and Community After Black Forest Fire

One year after the Black Forest Fire, the community came together to mark the anniversary in a way some might find unexpected. It was a celebration.

The Black Forest Regional Park was filled with the sounds of children playing on the playground, music from a live band, people talking and playing games. It was all the sounds of recovery.

"What happens afterward, that's what really counts," said Don Hardin.

A year ago, a different story in the Forest.

"By this time we were long gone out of the forest," said Hardin.

Jennifer Bosler and her family look back as well, "Oh gosh we were packing things up and running out of the house."

This community wen through trial by fire.

"We lost our home of 23 years, we lost our barn, everything," said Bonnie Olson.

"It just hit you right in the heart," remembered Hardin.

A year, not long enough to erase the emotions. Olson getting teary eyed thinking about her animals and family that were saved, and all of the other animals lost.

"I'm just so grateful my husband is alive," said Olson.

It was a year of overcoming tremendous obstacles for so many in Black Forest.

"There's been a lot of help," said Hardin.

That struggle isn't over yet.

"It's been a year of gratitude, it's been a year of making decisions," said Olson.

So why celebrate the anniversary of something so devastating? The people of Black Forest had many answers, but one common theme: It's a celebration to say they're still thriving, thanks to each other.

"It's a silver lining it brings the community closer together," said Jennifer's husband, Joel Bosler.

Olson said, "There is a spirit in a neighborhood."

And Hardin put it this way, "Everybody's tried to help so I think it's a celebration."

The rebuilding process in Black Forest is coming along slowly but surely, with 200 homes in the process of being rebuilt or are already finished.

Even at Wednesday night's community picnic, there were resources there to offer assistance to people still recovering from the fire.



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