By Army Sgt. Jess Geffre and Spc. Zach Sheely
Colorado National Guard
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (6/18/12) - When the wild blaze of Colorado’s High Park fire began to exhaust local resources, units from the Colorado National Guard stepped in at the request of local and state officials to supplement firefighting and support elements on the ground battling the blaze, allowing civilian responders a greater focus of efforts, said Colorado Guard officials.
“When we get the call, our guys come running and we bring our extensive experience and training with us,” said Army Maj. Michael McClelland, of the Colorado Army National Guard’s 193rd Military Police Battalion and commander of the Guard security element at the response site, McClelland added that the Colorado Guard had 62 troops on the ground at the joint support operations area in Larimer County within 24 hours of the governor’s official request for support.
Military police officers from the 193rd MP Bn. have been assisting the Larimer Country Sheriff’s Office with evacuations and the protection of personnel and property in the High Park fire, said McClelland.
“We’re very anxious to assist in any way we can,” he said.
For the Soldiers in the battalion, being a part of the response has been gratifying.
“It feels good to know that we’re helping our fellow Coloradans,” said Spc. Daniel Evanson, of the 193rd MP Bn. “This is exactly what we train for.”
And many local residents have shown their thanks and support by bringing water, food and a kind word for those on duty.
Cy Johnson, a Larimer County resident and his family members sat among stacks of For Larimer County resident Cy Johnson and other community members, that meant pooling money and resources to add to a stockpile of food, water and other supplies that now overflow Johnson’s truck bed. He and his family have been taking those items throughout the region to those that have been fighting the blaze.
“We can’t go home, so it feels better to be down here doing something,” Johnson said. “It’s inspirational. All those fighting out here are doing a great job and they’ve displayed great professionalism.”
The Soldiers of the battalion and the rest of the Colorado Guard will continue to support the community as long as it’s needed, said McClelland.
“No matter how long it takes, we’re here for the sheriff's office and the people of Larimer County,” he said.
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