Small Lyons market keeping firefighters fed as fires threaten the area

Posted at 10:15 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 00:45:32-04

LYONS, Colo. -- When natural disasters strike, the town of Lyons has learned how to rally.

In 2013, the city rebuilt from floods; this year, it is preparing for another disaster in the form of wildfires.

Fortunately, the town's grocer, St. Vrain Market, has learned through disaster how to pitch in. This time, it is helping to keep the firefighters fed.

"We are making between 50 and 150 sandwiches a day," said Neil Sullivan, who owns St. Vrain Market with his wife. "This market happens to have a robust deli. Why not share it?"

The Calwood Fire, which sparked on Saturday, has spread to 9,854 acres by Tuesday evening. Sullivan and his small staff began making sandwiches on Sunday and have reached out to the community for help. And his small community stepped up big time.

"Our goal was to make sure that we could completely feed all of the firefighters," said Sullivan, who has been doing bi-daily drops for three days straight at the Lyons Fire Station. "We have raised plenty of money to do that."

Sullivan said he has raised thousands in small donations, enough to maintain the small operation for weeks as the firefighters battle the flames.

"We have to, at some point, put brakes on the fundraising so we can assure all those incredible donors that the money they are donating is going into the mouths of the firefighters," he said, directing everyone who wants to pitch-in to donate directly to the Lyons Fire Department.

The community has learned how to come together in difficult times, Sullivan said, like after the devastating floods in 2013.

“We are fundamentally more prepared with inventory and product," he explained. "We are also mentally more prepared to come together very quickly."

As long as the firefighters keep on fighting, he said the community of Lyons will make sure they are fed.

“We have such great people and we are going to get through this. We are going to fortify those individuals, and they are going to be able to do their job hopefully better."

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