Frogs sift through ashes left by Colorado fires
Doug ’80 and Pam Bates Nuenke ’81 lost their home in the foothills of Colorado Springs.
by Kathryn Hopper
Updated: Friday, July 06, 2012
Doug ’80 and Pam Bates Nuenke ’81 were among 347 families to lose their homes in the Waldo Canyon wildfire in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The devastating fires that have engulfed many parts of the Western United States in recent weeks have affected several in the Horned Frog family including Doug Nuenke ’80 and his wife Pam Bates Nuenke ’81.
“Just a few days ago, my wife, Pam, and I stood on a hilltop in the dark, surrounded by others watching flames and smoke swallow the foothills of Colorado Springs,” he writes in his blog titled “Making Waves, reflections on walking with God and helping others do the same.”
“We knew some of those blazes might be swallowing our home. Those around us feared the same. That night we held each other close and wept and prayed.”
The family eventually learned that their home was among the 347 lost to the Waldo Canyon fire. In an interview with Fox news, Doug described the experience of having to quickly pack up the family’s valuables.
“We chose memories, things that are close to our hearts,” he said. “We’ve seen God at work in our life so we were picking up things that remind us of his providence, his goodness.”
Doug Nuenke is the U.S. president of The Navigators, an interdenominational, nonprofit organization, dedicated to helping people navigate spiritually. Using the slogan, “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known,” the organization has 4,600 staff members of 70 nationalities serving in more than 100 countries.
National Public Radio was on hand recently when The Navigators held an informal gathering that included songs, prayers and tears. Though most of the group's buildings are fine, employees were hit hard. At least nine lost their homes to fire, including the Nuenkes and longtime friends and fellow Frogs Cary and Susan Humphries (both class of 1980).
"It was a foreclosure house," Pam said in the NPR interview,"We'd done some work on it and just finished our kitchen remodel."
"There's some bricks that are standing," Doug adds. "Brick pillars, and the rest is a very well-burned ash pile."
The Waldo Canyon fire has affected every part of the Nuenkes' lives.
"Think of the details that are now involved in our life, with inventory, finding housing," Pam says. "There's a lot of other things to think about. We'll just take a day at a time. Today, I'm taking an hour at a time. I think eventually I'll be taking a day at a time and being able to move forward."
In an e-mail, Doug wrote: "Over 30 years ago we relinquished control of our possessions to God and His purposes. It was easier when all our stuff fit in the back of our car, but the sentiment remains the same today. So we try to stay hopeful and expectant for His plan despite the heartache."
How to help:
People interested in helping the Navigators and their staff recover can send donations through the Navigators "Fire Assistance Fund" at http://my.navigators.org/fire.