Barely through recovery mode after the torrential September 2013 rains, a group of dedicated Volunteers in Lyons began organizing a 9Health Fair that would serve almost 400 people. In the fall, roads to get to Lyons barely resembled their former selves. Residents were without primary amenities such as water, electricity, and sewage. Some people were evacuated all together, barred from returning to their home, unless they were issued a day pass that granted permission to do so. National Guard sightings became as typical as the washed out roads themselves.
After the flood, “the whole leadership team went right into looking toward the future and how to continue to provide this great service,” said Jonelle Tucker, the Site Coordinator for the Lyons 9Health Fair. In this role, Tucker oversees all aspects of the fair, including Volunteers, screenings, budget management, and logistics. With even more diligence this year, she wrote (and received) a grant to cover blood work and pap tests for those who could not afford it. Tucker was so “proud everyone stuck together to pull it off. Some of our volunteers lost their homes, but they still came to volunteer.” One such medical screener was paying a mortgage and renting a new home all at the same time. When asked why he joined the fair to volunteer, he said he felt so blessed and overwhelmed by how much time and assistance the community had given him. 9Health Fair offered an opportunity to help those who helped him.
“The day of the fair was like a big party,” observed Tucker. Fair participants and volunteers alike saw neighbors and friends, some for the first time since the flood, and exchanged stories and hugs. “People went out of their way to find and thank a coordinator.”
To many residents, it feels like a thing of the past now. “You can’t even tell unless you drive through the canyon. Life goes on,” Tucker reflected. Despite incredible environmental odds, Volunteers of Lyons assembled together this spring all for the same reasons; to help one another take care of their health. Tucker retires from the leadership team with this final extraordinary 9Health Fair experience. Hats off to her and all of the other team members that made this fair a reality.