How a tragedy in Lake Granby led to a new Grand County rescue fund
Seven years ago on July 3, 2015, a tragedy unexpectedly hit a beloved local family. Dee and Rick Mullinex would come to learn that their adult son, Christopher Mullinex, drowned after jumping into Lake Granby at a depth of what would have appeared to be safe — 40 to 50 feet — during a seemingly normal fun summer afternoon. A lack of responders trained in water rescue led to a delay in finding Christopher’s body. It was recovered three days later.
The devastation of losing her son to drowning, compounded with the anguish of waiting for his body to be recovered and brought home for burial, ignited a passion in Dee Mullinex to ensure that no family ever experiences that again in Grand County. From this tragic event the Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund was created, with the primary mission to provide funds for equipment, training and public education regarding water safety, so that every person who enjoys Grand County’s lakes comes home safely.
In 2021, the Grand County Board of County Commissioners signed Resolution 2021-7-38, in conjunction with the local fire districts, East Grand Fire Protection District #4, Grand Lake Fire Protection District and Grand Fire Protection District No. 1, which created and formed the Headwaters Rescue Authority intergovernmental agreement to establish a countywide, multi-agency water rescue authority to respond to water rescue emergencies throughout the county, and if requested, as mutual aid to other jurisdictions.
The authority is governed by a board of directors comprised of one representative appointed by each of the members of the intergovernmental agreement, including each of the special fire protection districts, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County Emergency Medical Services. The purpose in creating the agreement was to coordinate and jointly mitigate, plan, prepare and respond to surface water emergencies and operations through funding, training, patrol, response and public education. As numerous Grand County governmental agencies are involved, any activation of the authority is considered mutual aid within the county.
“The heartfelt strength and unwavering dedication of a mother’s love has been felt with every word and step bravely taken by Dee Mullinex,” said Sheriff Brett Schroetlin. “The formation of the Headwaters Rescue Authority marks a pivotal moment in the history of Grand County and allows our first responders to respond to emergencies in our bodies of water with the same care and compassion that we would for any other type of emergency.”
On behalf of the Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund, Dee Mullinex recently informed the authority board a $25,000 donation that had been received to support the purchase of a new rescue boat.
Tax-deductible donations are gratefully accepted to provide support and funding for ongoing training, equipment and operational needs. Checks can be made payable to Headwaters Rescue Authority and mailed to Grand Fire Protection District No. 1, P.O. Box 338, Granby, CO 80446.
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