A family’s personal journey of recovery becomes a gift of healing for an entire community. I had the privilege to interview Jake Martens this week for Southern Colorado’s Moms Everyday. Jake is a dad like so many others here in Colorado Springs who suddenly found himself evacuating his family from their home as a wildfire raged over our beautiful mountains. Although Jake’s home was not destroyed, many were. Over 300 families in our community lost the place they called home.
The intense destruction was unlike anything most of us have seen. But then came the intense gratitude. Even as the flames still burned, the residents of our great city began to pour out their thanks to the incredible heroes among us. Young and old, neighbor by neighbor. The people stood holding signs and cheering on the firefighters and first responders from near and far who battled the blaze tirelessly for days. And suddenly, the signs began to appear. Not signs warning of danger and despair, but signs of hope. Hanging from houses and painted on fences.
Jake and his wife saw the signs, too. With their three children, they began to photograph the images of hope as a way to bring positive energy to a traumatic life event. Then something wonderful happened. The positive energy spread. The people who saw the beauty of the Martens family photos wanted the hope to be a part of the Waldo Canyon Fire story. History will record the destruction of this fire and, thanks to the Martens, the outpouring of love and support from our community will be in the history books as well.
Through the help of several corporations, Jake created a pictorial book, Signs of Hope. He drove twice to Nebraska himself just to get the books bound. The books are being sold in local Walgreen’s stores on the west side of Colorado Springs and at Current. I bought a copy right away to share the hope with my children. Jake’s personal journey to heal his family is a reminder to all of us that in the midst of tragedy the human spirit rises above. Watch my interview with Jake and be inspired to find hope in your own life challenges.