LOUISVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) — The Monarch High School cross country team was still practicing in strong winds on Tuesday, if not for just a sense of normalcy.
The practices are not mandatory, but it was a chance for friends, teammates and coaches to catch up and check in after the Louisville and Superior communities were rocked by the Marshall Fire.
Laura Thweatt was forced to evacuate to the Boulder condo of her fellow coach, Maddie Alm, showing just how much teams are like family.
“That was probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to do,” Thweatt said. “I don’t think I really understood the magnitude of what was happening. I thought it was more precautionary.”
“Yeah, it’s just really chaotic, like it all happened so quickly,” Alm said.
After hearing that several families on the team were displaced, the coaches started a GoFundMe. Alm said they wanted to help the kids who lost their homes to the Marshall Fire feel supported and part of the team.
“It’s this unique sport where you really have to push yourself and you have to make yourself uncomfortable. These kids have been through a lot together and they have this real sense of camaraderie,” Alm said.
The GoFundMe had a goal of $3,000, but in just a few days they’ve raised more than seven times that goal.
“We thought, OK, if we could get $500 to each family just to get essentials for the day or for the week, you know, to start with,” Alm said. “You can’t run without running shoes. That was where this all started and now we’ve gone beyond running shoes to clothes, housing and cars.”
On top of that, an athletic clothing drive has their cars and condos bursting at the seams.
“We have bags upon bags and piles upon piles of gear that we can distribute,” Thweatt said.
They are grateful for the community support and hope these donations can get students back on track.
“We’ve always found ways to move forward because of the way we support each other and come together and just continue to lift one another, so I believe in this community. I know it’s gonna be really hard, we have a long road ahead of us,” Thweatt said. “But I know that we’re going to be able to rebuild and take back what’s ours.”
Right now, they say they have enough clothes and running shoes but are still taking donations on the GoFundMe to help families affected have everything they need.