Scott Pelletier, director of youth ministry at Boulder’s Mountain View United Methodist Church, has been leading mission trips all over the world for more than 20 years. He never thought he would see the day when he would be on the receiving end of such work, though.
But after his church flooded a month ago, the calls for help started pouring in, and crews from Kansas, Missouri and Highlands Ranch have already made their way to Boulder to do whatever they can to help get things back to normal.
“It’s quite remarkable to be wearing the other pair of shoes,” Pelletier said. “I’m just so grateful. It’s been absolutely amazing. The amount of work that has to be done is just so overwhelming. These groups have all truly been Godsends.”
The lower level of the church was completely flooded due to an overflowing sewer, and the ground floor found itself in similar shape after the heavy rains were too much for the windows to sustain, causing numerous offices and Sunday-school rooms to flood. Pelletier expects it will be at least four months before things return to normal.
And while many Douglas County School District students headed out of town over fall break, a total of 32 students, parents and church members from St. Luke’s United Methodist in Highlands Ranch instead made their way to Boulder to help clean and paint the offices and Sunday-school rooms and prep the basement for tile work.
“A lot of the water level was so high that it messed up all of the electrical work and a lot of the plumbing,” said Dave Laurvick, director of youth and young adult ministries at St. Luke’s. “Their youth group had also just been gifted a pool table, an air hockey table and a pingpong table and all that was ruined. But that was nothing compared to the 20-plus years of photographs from all the mission work they had done being lost.
“You could just feel the pain, the emotional loss, and truly realize that this was just a microcosm of what so many people are going through up there. It was just astounding to see all of the devastation.”
The silver lining, Laurvick said, was seeing the students from St. Luke’s reach out to the Boulder teens as they dove in without hesitation and did whatever they could to help out, while doing the best they could to put a smile on a few faces.
One of those local teens who headed up was Mountain Vista sophomore Hannah Smith, who was accompanied by her brother Grant and their father.
“I just really wanted to do something about it to help out,” she said, after a day that included moving furniture and paperwork out of 10 rooms. “I enjoy community service and it was good to be able to reach out. Some of the people had their homes damaged as well, including their pastor. I wanted to make a difference.”