Atlanta family start again after Colorado wildfires

Atlanta family start again after Colorado wildfires

The Reid family moved from Atlanta to Colorado two years ago to help their daughter with more than ten health issues. Fundraising has been set up.

ATLANTA – It was an unexpected start to 2022 for the Reid family. On December 30, Joseph, Cindy and their daughter Joanna saw on Twitter that they had to evacuate their home in Louisville, Colorado.

“We all took our pets and basically our passports and that was it,” recalls 36-year-old Joanna.

All that was left was lost.

“It really is a disaster area,” said Joseph. “There were 991 homes completely destroyed and 100 that were damaged beyond use. So it will take several weeks, even for owners, to gain access to their property if anything can be salvaged. Ours is literally in ashes and rubble. “

The Reids have lived in Atlanta for over three decades. Joanna was born there, Joseph was a professor at Emory University and then worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while Cindy moved to the city right after graduating from college.

They moved to Colorado two years ago to find a drier, cooler climate to help Joanna’s more than ten health issues.

“I moved and [my parents] are really involved in helping take care of me. They followed us here. I have had over 100 surgeries in the past 20 years and have spent 33 weeks in the hospital for years, ”said Joanna.

Joanna says doctors have told her family on several occasions that she will probably not be over 20. She is 36 years old and “is still going strong”.

She credits her parents and this strength for persevering through this time. This is part of why living near your parents is so important.

“Honestly it sounds a bit dramatic, but I really still need my mom and dad,” she admitted.

Just five days after Christmas in 2021, Joanna was in hospital receiving an IV when crews began requesting evacuations.

“Some of my nurses that I have there apparently had flames within four feet of the emergency oxygen tanks and the staff were using water to vaporize it to keep the flames from spreading. take oxygen because the whole hospital would have exploded, “she said.

The whole hospital was evacuated. His parents and animals were also evacuated. Joseph had the feeling that they would come to nothing … Cindy not so much.

“I was either in denial or I don’t know, but I thought we were going to go away for a few days because of the smoke. And when the smoke clears, we’ll come back,” Cindy said.

Colorado wildfires destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and buildings.

“Everyone has crises in their life and health crises, but just imagine having the 1,000 people living around you in crisis at the same time,” Joseph said.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what triggered it.

“I never thought, in a million years, that I would lose my house, all my possessions and everything I collected,” Cindy added. “I have nothing more to pass on to my children who are memories of our family from all generations.”

Now the communities of Colorado and Georgia are mobilizing to help the Reid family. They set up a fundraiser which, in four days, raised over $ 60,000.

The money will help Joseph and Cindy rebuild and start again in Louisville, stay close to Joanna and take care of her.

“I’m really afraid they can’t afford to live here,” Joanna said. “I’ve been sick since I was a kid so it’s a great comfort to know that they’re only five minutes away if I’m not with them. Honestly, I’m really terrified they won’t. not be able to afford to rebuild here, so it’s really difficult.

After returning to the land where their home once stood, the Reids discovered they were facing yet another financial hurdle.

“Unfortunately, we found out after the fact that our home insurance policy had a flaw that I didn’t detect because while I was trying to buy the house we lived in, Joanna was in the hospital. C ‘it was very difficult to manage all the different papers, ”Joseph remembers.

To donate to the family, click here.

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