Letter: Hileman family grateful for those who worked tirelessly to protect Grand County
Dear Neighbors of Grand County,
The impact of the East Troublesome Fire has been devastating. The fire moved 26 miles in approximately three hours and reached Grand Lake on the evening of Oct. 21. Our parents had less than 90 minutes to prepare but had already determined that if fire were to reach the property, they would go to the basement, in an area they believed safe. What they hadn’t anticipated was a pyro cyclone with sustained winds over 70 mph.
Our parents called their son, Glenn, at 9:30 p.m. They were calm and resolute in their decision to stay together in a home they loved and shared with everyone who’d venture to the high country. They were together, felt safe, and placed their trust and faith in God’s hands. Only minutes later, the home was consumed.
The property was reached by search and recovery units of Grand County on Friday afternoon and they were able to retrieve our parents remains. They were found, arm in arm. Miraculously, the only things not consumed in the fire were two trees and their Flag Pole. My Mom loved that flag flying over the meadow. The trees were planted shortly after they retired in the early 90’s, one for Marylin and one for Lyle. For years, they reminded their children of a desire to have their ashes spread under those trees as a final resting place.
Our family will be forever grateful to the men and women who worked tirelessly to protect our beloved Grand County. Specifically, we’d like to thank Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin, Grand Lake Fire Fire Chief Kevin Ratzmann, Tawnya Bailey, Jordan Ball, Troy Nelson and the Color Guard from American Legion Post 88, Granby/Grand County.
Collectively, they led an effort to allow our family to return to our property and assisted us in retrieving the tattered remains of a large flag our parents had raised on their 50’ flag pole. Together, we raised a new flag that now flies again, high over the meadow. In addition to a display of the love our family has for nation and community, it also serves as an indication of our commitment to work together in literally rising from the ashes in the months and years ahead.
Our loss is great, but we find comfort in knowing Lyle and Marylin left together after a 68 year marriage. They loved Grand County and enjoyed 48 years of their time together amongst their friends in the mountains. They will be sorely missed but leave us an example of love and service.
With much love and appreciation,
The Hileman Family
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Editor’s note: This letter to the community was submitted by Grand County Public Health Director Abbie Baker on Monday.