Marissa Strong



The semester is coming to an end and it seems like yesterday I was flying into Denver, eager to start a new adventure at the University of Northern Colorado.

These last four months have certainly proven to be an adventure for remember, and I am so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to come here for a semester. In fact, this semester has opened my eyes to many things.

As many of you know, Colorado experienced a severe flood in September, displacing thousands and causing millions of dollars in damage.

A few months earlier, a large amount of land was completely destroyed by a wildfire, the second fire to strike the state in two years.

Over Thanksgiving break, I was taken to Black Forest, a place that I am very familiar with and an area that I grew up in when I was living in Colorado.

Black Forest is also where this year’s fire consumed over 500 homes and burned over 14,000 acres.

Contributed Photo: KSC senior, Marissa Strong, explores “Cave of the Winds” in the Colorado Springs.

Contributed Photo: KSC senior, Marissa Strong, explores “Cave of the Winds” in the Colorado Springs.

Before the fire, the forest was very thick and filled with massive, towering pine trees, and as I drove through the area a few weeks ago, the trees were then just weak, lifeless toothpicks.

One of my friends saw the area right after the fire had spread through it in June and she said it looked apocalyptic.

Everything was dead and burned to the ground, so many houses that once stood were now no more than foundations with debris scattered around the land.

Cars are just frames, and they are black with soot.

The images of the devastation from the flooding and from the wildfires have been burned in my brain forever. But from all these horrible events that Colorado has experienced, the thing that I am even more amazed and inspired by is how incredible, uplifting and supportive others can be during times of tragedy.

Immediately after the floods, there were a ton of events and fundraisers to help those who lost everything.

Today, almost exactly four months later, fundraisers are still happening and a lot of money has been raised to help these affected families.

Over the last weeks, as Thanksgiving passes and Christmas approaches, I have started realizing that it isn’t just during tragedy that people will support and help others in need.

I work at a coffee shop and I have seen many people buying coffees for strangers when they don’t have enough money, giving generous tips or even just offering genuine well wishes to others.

I don’t know whether it is the holiday season that is causing this wave of generosity and cheer, but I do know that it is the warmest sight to see.

This holiday season I am going to focus on paying forward a few good deeds and I’d like to invite anyone and everyone to join me in this endeavor.

‘Tis the season after all, right?

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