To the Editor:
As I watched television footage of the dramatic flood rescues on the Front Range these past few days, it occurred to me that nearly all the people responsible for saving lives work for the government.
Yes, there may have been neighbors and volunteers who tried to help each other, and I saw at least one church use its building to shelter people who had been evacuated. But, it was paid, professional, government employees who did most of the work. Water engineers for both the federal and state governments worked in the very early morning hours on Sept. 12 to divert water from rapidly rising reservoirs.
Sheriffs departments from several Front Range counties issued evacuation warnings and helped people escape dangerous waters. Fire departments drove their trucks through flooded streets to rescue people. Police officers and EMTs were rescuing drivers whose cars fell into rivers near collapsed roads. The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings and watches, and predicted how far the water would rise.
The National Geological Survey posted maps online of road closures due to rising water. CDOT posted and enforced road closures.
National Guard soldiers used government helicopters to rescue stranded residents of Jamestown, who were completely isolated after their access roads were destroyed by the floods. Even East Grand School District bus drivers drove buses over Trail Ridge Road to rescue stranded Loveland students from Estes Park, and housed them in the middle school over night.
I, for one, am glad that my tax dollars pay for all of those government agencies. I’m glad I didn’t have to watch television reports of thousands of flood related deaths instead of fewer than a dozen.
As I listen to more and more anti-tax and anti-government rhetoric, I hope people stop and think about the amazing response of government employees in this recent state crisis. And I also hope people stop and thank their public employees for being competent professionals when we needed them most.