GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — It’s hard to measure loss. That’s why Glenn Hileman focuses on building.
"For whatever reason, my way of grieving was focusing my energy and focus on the vision of their property still continuing," Glenn said. "That legacy is continuing."
The memory of Glenn's parents who died in the East Troublesome Fire last year is being kept alive as Grand County continues to rebuild.
Lyle and Marylin Hileman were killed the night the wildfire grew more than 100,000 acres in one day.
Nearly a year later, their family and friends are coming together to honor one of their final wishes.
"Right before we left she handed me a piece of paper and suggested that she had named the park and also the pavilion," Glenn said. "We’re hoping to have it ready by Monday, the anniversary of the day she told us about her dream for this park coming to fruition."
There’s no hiding the burned trees and memories of the East Troublesome Fire. Yet the growth is impossible to miss.
The last time Glenn saw his parents was the weekend of October 4, 2020. Marylin gave her son instructions for the pavilion she wanted to build. Then the fire came three weeks later.
"We’re still a long way from done, but it’s kind of nice to have that as an outlet, as a channel for grief to feel like we’re doing something that they were doing," Glenn said.
The bolts are tight, the wood is heavy, and the help is plentiful.
Clive Smith has worked construction in the area for years. Now he’s here to help build his friend’s dreams.
"It’s really important to me because they were great people. I just love Lyle to death," Clive said. "I just don’t want to be anywhere else. It’s paradise as far as I’m concerned."
Lyle, Marylin and their big yellow house may be gone. Now Punk’s Pavilion is coming to life.
"Do you remember what my dad used to call my mom? Do you remember her nickname? He used to always call her Punk," Glenn said, speaking with a friend. "So that’s what we did. Punk’s Pavilion."
It’s easy to measure loss by the number of burned trees on the mountainside. Now Glenn measures recovery on the number of dreams coming to life.
"I think they’re watching," Glenn said. "I think they’re watching from up above and they’re pleased."
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