BOULDER — It's been five years since catastrophic flooding ravaged Boulder County and killed four people.
Recovery efforts aren't 100 percent complete, but people affected hope a new addition to their community on the corner of Linden Drive and South Cedar Brook Road will help them emotionally.
Five years ago, the intersection was the site where two teenagers, Wesley Quinlan and Wiyanna Nelson, both 19 years old, were swept away and killed in the September 2013 flood. Saturday morning, a memorial to honor them, other victims and everyone who helped with rescue efforts was dedicated in the same spot.
"Over a thousand homes were destroyed or damaged," Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said during his dedication speech. "Linden Drive, where we're standing now, became a raging river."
Listening to Pelle below were Glenda Aretxuloeta, Quinlan's mother, and Jennifer Nelson, Wiyanna Nelson's mother, who occasionally wiped their tears.
"You don't want the world to forget them," Aretxuloeta said.
"This is my first time to the area," Jennifer Nelson said. "I came close to it several times, but it was definitely a big thing that I fought since last night."
The two moms held each other's hand as they described the pain they still feel from losing their children.
"It's difficult," Jennifer Nelson said. "It doesn't get easier. There are people out there who say it gets easier through time, but to me, I don't think it ever actually gets easier. I just think your body learns to live with the emotions and live with the fact that you're not going to see them again."
Quinlan and Wiyanna Nelson were on their way to a birthday party when "nature happened and took them," according to their moms. Pelle said their car was hit by "substantial debris flow."
Wiyanna Nelson was first taken by the rushing water, her mother said. Quinlan died trying to save her.
"I don't know many people that would've risked their life like that," Jennifer Nelson said. "I mean, he didn't have to go after her and try to save her, but he did. So, he is my biggest hero."
The ache that sits with Aretxuloeta and Jennifer Nelson may never go away, but they find a bit of peace in knowing their children live on through the new memorial.
"We have solid rocks in place that we hope will last for centuries," Aretxuloeta said. "That's comforting."