Gym members help Grand Lake family shoulder heavy burden of fire-damage cleanup

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GRAND LAKE, CO — While clearing what is left from their burned out home, the Kern family unearthed little pieces and charred mementos of their past destroyed in the East Troublesome fire. Most of it burned in just moments as flames engulfed neighborhoods near Grand Lake in October.

“We found some trinkets and china from my my mother in law,” said Donald Kern sifting through the rubble. “Lots of memories, irreplaceable stuff.”

They couldn’t move the bigger items on their own. Fortunately they got some help from a group that can carry heavy things.

“We came up here with a bunch of tools and a little bit of muscle,” said Peter Beuth, a co-owner of Manic Training in Highlands Ranch. He and his team of fitness enthusiasts moved home appliances, fixtures and furniture to large trash crates on the property. “All that’s left is the metal. I mean, what you see is, you know, the ash of everything.”

It turns out that fitness training is good preparation for the heavy lifting at a cleanup site.

“Good lifting techniques in the gym lends itself to stuff you’re doing outside,” said Beuth. “Anything that’s, digging, carrying and throwing stuff.”

After two hours of carrying heavy debris, the property was cleared. All that remained was the foundation and mounds of ash containing the little things left in the rubble.

“Even though it has been really hard for us, it has just been stunning how people have reached out to help us, said Kern. “We know that we are going to make it through.”

As the volunteers left, he remained at the foundation of his home, continuing to search for the small mementos.

“We will find a few little things here and there. And, you know, try to have some closure,” he said tearfully. “So we can start the process of grieving and rebuilding and making a home again.”