Re­mem­brances of 1976 tragedy will be­come less fre­quent

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Michelle Ven­degna

DRAKE» Af­ter Mon­day night’s cer­e­mony to re­mem­ber the 144 lost in the 1976 Big Thomp­son Flood, Barb An­der­son, pres­i­dent of the Big Thomp­son Canyon Flood Me­mo­rial Com­mit­tee, an­nounced that the group would no longer hold a yearly cer­e­mony.

But even with­out an or­ga­nized event, the date will not be for­got­ten.

“We are still go­ing to meet on July 31 at 7 p.m. be­cause I can’t not be here,” An­der­son told the crowd.

Joined by the other com­mit­tee mem­bers — Tina An­der­son, Mar­lene John­son and Peggy Laf­ferty — An­der­son said they will con­tinue to of­fer re­fresh­ments and fel­low­ship each year, and any­one is wel­come to at­tend and share sto­ries, but they would hold an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony only ev­ery five years.

The next of­fi­cial cer­e­mony will in 2021, mark­ing the 45th an­niver­sary.

For more than 20 years, An­der­son has or­ga­nized the event that com­mem­o­rates the 1976 flood that started with heavy rain on July 31, 1976. It caused a mas­sive surge of wa­ter to race down the Big Thomp­son Canyon with lit­tle warn­ing, re­sult­ing in 144 deaths.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers have gath­ered yearly at the me­mo­rial out­side the vol­un­teer fire­house to re­mem­ber those vic­tims.

Five can­dles are lit for those who were never found: Rochelle Rogers, Teresa Gra­ham, Ge­orge McCarty, Vernon Oler and Eve­lyn Kin­dred.

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