Skip to content

Building hope

Catholic Charities, Mennonites rebuild flood destroyed homes in Jamestown

Two victims of the 2013 Colorado flood fought back tears as they joined friends and volunteers of disaster relief services for a blessing ceremony over the houses they could finally call “home.”

It took more than two years, a flock of volunteers and a partnership between Catholic Charities of Denver and Mennonite Disaster Services before Nancy Farmer and her neighbor Karen Zupco could walk into their new houses.

“I’m so blown away that people would do this,” said Nancy Farmer, the recipient of a yellow ranch house nestled in the mountains of Jamestown, about 12 miles from Boulder. “It’s been so incredible. I feel so blessed.”

More than a new roof over their heads, volunteers from disaster recovery services gave the two women something irreplaceable—a renewed sense of hope.

“I think God has his hand (in this),” said Jeff Koller of the Mennonite Disaster Services, during the ceremony. “It’s not just about these houses, but about building spirit and community.”

Geoff Bennet, vice president of Catholic Charities, said, “We’ve been waiting for this day. It’s almost the culmination of everyone’s dreams and efforts. What an honor it is to be able to help.”

Nancy Farmer and her neighbor, Karen Zupco, stand in Karen's home Feb. 24 as volunteers continue to rebuild their houses after they lost them in the 2013 historic flood.

Nancy Farmer, left, and her neighbor, Karen Zupco, stand in Karen’s home Feb. 24 after a blessing ceremony attended by Catholic Charities and Mennonite Disaster Services, who helped rebuild their flood destroyed homes.

During the ceremony Feb. 24 in Jamestown, the group offered thanks to God and prayed that Farmer and Zupco’s new houses would become places of love.

In September 2013, the two women were among the thousands who lost their homes during the heavy rains and catastrophic flooding that damaged 19,000 structures across 24 counties from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. Boulder County was one of the hardest hit. Three residents were killed, 262 homes were destroyed and nearly 300 more damaged. Almost the entire community was forced to relocate, including Farmer and Zupco.

In Jamestown, roads were washed out and buildings destroyed by a combination of flooding and mud from the rising waters of James Creek and Little Jim Creek that flow through town.

“It just came pouring down,” said Farmer, recalling the day the flood hit her home. “It was a wall of water.”

Over three days, two surges of rising water took out her porch then swept away her music room and bedrooms. Eventually, nothing was left on Farmer’s property. The flood split Zupco’s home in half.

The town invited Mennonite Disaster Services to rebuild the damaged homes. However, funding began to dry up and the project faced an abrupt end, Koller said. Then, Catholic Charities heard about it. Catholic Charities of Denver applied to Catholic Charities USA for additional flood relief funding. The funds were granted and the Mennonites’ project continued.

Friends and volunteers join a blessing ceremony over Farmer and Kupcos homes.

Friends and volunteers join Father Boria for a blessing ceremony over Farmer and Kupco’s homes.

“This would not be here without you folks,” Koller said to Catholic Charities staff, including Diane Elio, who manages Catholic Charities’ emergency assistance and disaster recovery services. “It’s been a wonderful relationship up to this point.”

Volunteers from Germany, Canada, India and Ohio gathered for the ceremony. Father Vittorio Boria of Catholic Charities led the group in prayer and sprinkled holy water inside the two homes. A Mennonite staff member led the group in singing “My life flows on.”

The two women posed for photos and hugged others to share their gratitude.

“I had no idea how much this would bring people together,” Farmer said.

Zupco looked at her house under construction and said, “I see the house coming close (to finishing), and it’s unbelievable. These are all wonderful people.”

The Jamestown project
Number of homes: 2
Number of volunteers: 687
Catholic Charities funding: $400,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVENTS

Interact with our community.

PRAY

Prayer intentions and requests.

VOLUNTEER

Great ways to serve.

DONATE

Support Catholic Charities.

GET OUR CHARITY WORKS NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW US

CONTACT US

CONTACT US

Catholic Charities Denver
6240 Smith Road
Denver, CO 80216
303-742-0828

Larimer County Services
Summit County Services
Weld County Services
Western Slope Services

Catholic Charities Denver
6240 Smith Road
Denver, CO 80216
303-742-0828

Larimer County Services
Summit County Services
Weld County Services
Western Slope Services

MAKE A DONATION

MAKE A DONATION

Mail Donations to:
6240 Smith Road
Denver, CO 80216
303-742-0828

Donation support :
donorrelations@ccdenver.org
720-799-9311

EIN: 84-0686679

Mail Donations to:
6240 Smith Road
Denver, CO 80216
303-742-0828

Donation support :
donorrelations@ccdenver.org
720-799-9311

EIN: 84-0686679

OTHER RESOURCES

OTHER RESOURCES

Need A Different Language?

Need A Different Language?