The telephone awakened me around five o’clock in the morning. I was in a sleepy daze, though the night had been a restless one. I answered, thinking of family of course, instead hearing a recorded message. It was a reverse 911 call from Larimer County dispatch warning of impending flooding. I stumbled to my feet, went to the upstairs door, turned on the outside spot lights, and what I saw, well let’s just say it was surreal to say the least. The tiny creek behind my house was a raging river. The noises I heard during the early morning hours were boulders hitting my home. I dressed in a hurry.

While dressing I ran through my mind what steps I needed to take. Files from the safe. Money from the store. Wallet, credit cards, toiletries, and a couple of changes of clothes. It was beginning to become confusing. Water was in the yard, but I still felt at this time there was no immediate threat. About that time, the fellows from the local Glen Haven Fire Department were knocking on my door. They helped me carry valuable stuff upstairs, all of us believing that the water would rise, and we would all simply have a mess to clean up on the lower levels the next day. It had be raining steady and hard for four days.

Glen Haven was seven miles south of Estes Park, on the bypass of Highway 43. A hundred yards from my house and store, was the convergence of West Creek, which ran behind my house, and the Northfork of the Big Thompson River.

Throwing a few things in the car I quickly headed up to Estes Park and checked into the Discovery Lodge for the day and coming night. I had every reason to believe I would return the next morning and clean up a huge mess in the store. Not so. During the night a wall a water came down the gulch of the canyon and took away everything. I was stranded in Estes Park. Flood waters came through downtown Estes as well. Flood waters were devastating other regions as well, especially Lyons, Colorado. Some of you reading this may remember very well the floods of September, 2013.

After three days, a route was opened along Highway 7 out of Estes, and I, along with many stranded tourists slowly made our way out. I already had information of the devastation of Glen Haven, so staying no longer served a purpose. My brother had recently relocated his job, opening the new Cabelas in Lone Tree. He had secured an apartment in Castle Rock, so this little town became my destination. I have lived here since. The past seven years for me, have been about rebuilding and reinventing myself. A dear friend always refers to me as the “Renaissance Man”. I guess it is quite fitting!

Sparing the details, only three months after setting up household I was called in to the University of Colorado Hospital to receive a kidney transplant. Life certainly has a sense of humor. So, I was now inactive, in a way. Due to such life-changing events, I began to see things from a perspective of faith, something I always had, but now meant everything. I decided to write a book telling the story of this journey and the discoveries of Self and my relationship to God and all things, of which I was becoming more aware of. I published this book in August, 2014. My book can be found on Amazon.

By November, 2014 I was ready to do something. Besides, I needed to make a living, so I re-entered the workplace. I just would not be working for myself. What I lost in the floods could not be replaced easily. By 2015 I was manager of two Jos. A. Bank Men’s Stores, on in the Outlets at Castle Rock, and one at Greenwood Village. After closing both stores, due to corporate restructuring, I became Assistant Manager of Vitamin World here in Castle Rock. It was during my early time with Jos. A. Bank I became involved with the newly created CRCO. Playing with my photography at the time, and forming a friendship with its owner and creator, Sean Hakes, it all became a good fit. During my retail working hours, I attempted to find time to work with CRCO, but often finding that my job hours were too demanding and conflictive. It was around 2016 when I began to become interested in town affairs, seeing all the growth suddenly explode upon our community. Where had all of this come from, I thought? So, my educational journey began. I wanted to spend more time with town matters, but a job which supported my much-needed health insurance was time conflicting.

March, 2020 enter the Covid 19 Era. We all have feelings and opinions on the matter, and I have mine. Nonetheless, this summer has seen an impact on jobs, businesses, parents and children alike. In spite of all the negatives, what I see is the positives; a community finding ways to keep moving forward. My hope and prayers are that these times of restrictions with soon abate, and many who are struggling with their domestic lives, especially single parents trying to manage work, school, and daycare, will soon find relief back into a settled way of life, while continuing to live an abundant life in the best way they know how. I know, because I have this point of view today. Keep moving forward, and live an abundant life in the best way I know how.

I lost my job at the end of June due to the Covid 19 intrusions. It was a blessing in disguise. Of course it was. Many of you know what I do now, what I am wanting to achieve, and all that I am doing to “Keep Moving Forward”!

Gary Godfrey – CRCO – Castle Rock Local Business Alliance Administrator