July 6, 2012
Professor Pedro Boscan lost his home while serving as a volunteer firefighter but he emerged from the High Park Fire grateful for family, friends and CSU.
I will like to express my most sincere gratitude from the very bottom of my heart for all that CSU and the CSU community have done to help fight the High Park Fire and support the fire victims.
I’m saying this as a CSU faculty member, as a firefighter and as a victim. I’m so proud to be part of CSU, and all firefighters who fought the fire with me have heard about my CSU pride!
CSU opened a lot of resources to accommodate and help all the firefighters coming from all over the country and even outside the country. CSU made available whatever was at its reach to help combat the fire. Then, CSU reached out to all the evacuees and fire victims. CSU opened the College of Veterinary Medicine to help animal victims from the fire. To put the icing on the cake, CSU continues to care for and help the fire victims who lost their homes. I don’t think I have ever seen such devotion and outreach to the community from a university in my life. In my opinion, CSU set the standard on how an institution should reach out to the community in a moment of disaster. What a high standard was set!
The fire lasted almost three weeks, but the CSU outreach has been even larger than most people know. CSU members were found volunteering all over northern Colorado from the beginning of the fire until now. I met CSU members caring for evacuees and the evacuees’ animals, offering water and food to anyone in need, guiding us through the process of destruction and rehabilitation and, of course, four of the firefighters from Rist Canyon Fire Department are CSU members (Carol Dollard, Kyle McGraw, HJ Siegel and me, Pedro Boscan).
To be honest, the love for our mountains, the love for nature, the love for wildlife, flowers and trees; the love for our neighbors, friends and family and the astonishing love from our community was what kept us going day and night when fighting the fire. Now, I feel the same love coming back from CSU and our entire community.
I am extremely proud to be part of CSU, Fort Collins and northern Colorado.
I remember vividly when I made a pact with a CSU-Rist Canyon fire fighter. On Sunday, June 10, better known as “hell day” for me, five RCVFD firefighters were defending The Stove Prairie School, properties along Stove Prairie Road, properties on Old Flowers Road and properties along some of Buckhorn Canyon Road. Sometime around noon, we were all trapped and surrounded by fire with no exit to the outside world. We radioed command with the information; our orders were to be safe as priority number one, and to protect structures. Then, Carol and I had a pact; the 100-year-old mountain school will not go down without a fight. Luckily, we won that fight but unfortunately we lost others. A lesson in life: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
There were no injuries but an unfortunate death -- a great record for the second largest and destructive fire in Colorado, and all in big part to CSU.
Just in case you would like to share this letter, which you are welcome to do so, the northern Colorado community is the most amazing community I have ever lived in. I always said that on the mountain, but it now extends to our entire community: this is the place where I lived the furthest from my neighbors but I felt the closest to my neighbors. Firefighters from all corners could not stop talking about the community support while digging fire lines. I was so proud to say that these were my people.
Thanks to CSU, the mountain community, Fort Collins and northern Colorado.
Associate professor of Clinical Sciences or
“Rist Canyon Pedro”