When Pamela Puterbaugh moved into the Windermere Apartments four months ago, she never planned to stay in a hotel for the holidays. She told 9NEWS she'd really been looking forward to decorating her tree this holiday season.
Instead, a small tree and nativity scene will have to do. Although she was too young for the 55 and older community, Puterbaugh got a waiver to live there because of her disability.
Now, she's living in a hotel after all the apartments were declared uninhabitable following a fire on Nov. 17. Still, even as she makes calls to start her new life, she smiles.
"I need to remember to choose my attitude because I can’t change my circumstances," said Puterbaugh. "I didn’t get to choose going through the fire, but I do get to choose what I do with it and how I move forward."
She does get frustrated and angry that she and many others never heard a smoke alarm in their homes. Puterbaugh said she helped bang on doors to get people out, something she couldn't have done just two months ago.
“Not only was I trapped in my home but also trapped in a body that wasn’t working," she said.
After months of physical therapy, she can walk now, and walking helped her warn her neighbors of the fire. That might be why she put up sticky notes around her hotel have sayings like, "today is a good day for a good day!"
"I feel blessed," she said.
If you'd like to help residents like Puterbaugh, you can donate to the Windermere Fire Fund created by the Arapahoe County commissioners. Head to this link.
You can also mail in checks to the Arapahoe County Foundation. Here's how to do that:
Make checks payable to: Arapahoe County Foundation
5334 South Prince Street
(Write "Windermere Apartment Fire Victims" in memo line)
Are you a landlord with available space for some displaced seniors? Then you should call 303-738-8040.