Meal offers Grand Lakers chance to give thanks

Grand Lake gathers to remember the one year anniversary of the East Troublesome Fire on Saturday at Town Square Park. The event included a free meal, a community art project and live music.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

Grand Lake is still standing one year after the East Troublesome Fire, and the town celebrated the people who helped make that happen on Saturday.

The community gathered at Town Square Park over a free meal crafted by Chef Tajahi Cooke. Surrounded by signs expressing gratitude for first responders, Grand Lake Mayor Steve Kudron thanked all of the heroes in Grand Lake.

“Heroes are not only among us, they are us,” he said in a speech to the group. “You are my heroes.”

Along with first responders, Kudron acknowledged those who lost everything, business owners who took care of the community, organizers of the Troublesome Fest, and the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce for their work in the year since, including putting together the Troublesome Stories exhibit.

“I’m glad you’re all here,” he said.

Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin recalled the empty streets of Grand Lake as the East Troublesome Fire burned around it a year ago.

“This town was dark. This town was gloomy,” he said. “But we knew as we drove through this town that this town was going to come back — and this town has come back.”

Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin speaks during the community meal on Saturday in Grand Lake. The meal celebrated first responders for the one year anniversary of the East Troublesome Fire.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

Schroetlin emphasized the importance of community and collaboration in supporting small first responder agencies.

“That is what I see here in Grand Lake,” he said. “Everywhere that we turn around, I see neighbors helping neighbors, businesses helping businesses, citizens helping citizens, first responders helping first responders. It is key. It is vital for a community to have that happen.”

After Schroetlin, Grand Lake Fire Board President David Craig — also the general manager of C Lazy U Ranch — acknowledged the efforts of Grand County’s first responders in saving much of the historic ranch. He recognized the loss of life and property that happened in the fire, along with the less palpable side of the tragedy.

“I think we all lost something else, something less tangible,” Craig said. “A piece of our community and a piece of our heart and soul was also lost. It was burned and its recovering may never completely be done. I share in this loss, but I also strongly believe that we have a lot to be thankful for.”

Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Emily Hagen adds to the community art piece on Saturday in Grand Lake. Using paint made from the ash of the East Troublesome Fire, community members were invited to add a brush stroke to the tree ring.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

More than 150 people turned out for the event, including many of Grand County’s first responders. For the next few hours, accompanied by live music, people enjoyed the meal and gave thanks.

Folks affected by the fire were invited to use paint made from the ashes of the East Troublesome Fire to add to a community art piece, creating a tree ring one brush stroke at a time. The chamber also handed out Christmas ornaments that read, “No More Troubles.”

Read more about the one year anniversary of the East Troublesome Fire at

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