This time, it's money flowing toward Lyons.

Almost $1 million in flood aid will be mailed to 280 Lyons residents Friday. The money from the Lyons Community Foundation and the Lyons Community Basic Needs and Emergency Fund can be used to help with rent, replace damaged items, or otherwise cover a family's needs.

"There was a little girl who lost her camera in the flood," said executive director Emily Dusel. "She wanted a new camera, and a Polaroid this time, so she could get her pictures right away."

For Amanda Anderson, news of her family's $5,000 grant -- the maximum allowed -- was good news after a long string of hard times. Not only did she lose her home in the flood, but while driving back from an affordable housing meeting Dec. 3, Anderson was in a head-on collision that totaled her car and put her in the hospital.

From left: Nataya Cook, Amanda Anderson, Zim Cook and Danny Shafer.
From left: Nataya Cook, Amanda Anderson, Zim Cook and Danny Shafer. ( Matthew Jonas )

She could have lost even more, though, had a friend not awakened her in September.

"We slept through all the door knocks and the alarms," said Anderson, thinking back to the start of the St. Vrain flood. "My good friend called me several times. I finally woke up on the fourth ring and she said 'You've got five minutes!'"

The money, she said, will be a huge help with affording rent. Anderson, who lives with her fiancé and two children, now rents a place in Longmont. She wants to return to Lyons, she said, but her mobile home park was destroyed and she hasn't found a rental in the town that's in reach of her wages.


"I bought my trailer in 2008," said Anderson, who's a barista and baker at the Barking Dog Cafe. "We had a nice yard and an apple tree, we had the life. We were right by the river and the kids would go swimming there every summer. ... Now, all of us who used to be so independent have to rent and it's feeling so weird."

She's gotten another bit of unexpected help as well. Her boss and some of her co-workers at the Barking Dog pooled their money to get Anderson a van.

"This town has been so good to us," she said. "They want everyone to succeed. That's how it's always been. Just a lot of amazing kind-hearted people."

More than 800 donors contributed the $958,100 to the aid program, called Rebuild Lyons -- One Life at a Time.

Scott Rochat can be reached at 303-684-5220 or