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The long road to rebuilding in Jamestown

Nancy Farmer couldn’t rebuild in the exact same spot, but she was able to rebuild within Jamestown. And it happened with a lot of help.

JAMESTOWN, Colorado — Ten years ago, Nancy Farmer’s home stood along Main Street in Jamestown. It was a community she called home for decades, and a house she had fallen in love with.

“My favorite part of living here was being on Main Street. Being in the middle of town, people would stop by. They’d walk by and I could talk to them,” she remembers. “If I was out in my garden I could hang out with people. And of course, the creek, that creek that betrayed me.”

Farmer survived the rising waters and landslide in 2013, but her home did not. Like so many others, she was forced to evacuate and eventually returned to find entire sections of her home damaged or washed away.

And rebuilding in the same place wasn't possible.

“It took a while to really figure that out, to understand that I wasn't going to be able to rebuild on this piece of land. And that was heartbreaking because I really loved living here," she said. 

While she couldn’t rebuild in the exact same spot, she was able to rebuild within Jamestown. And it happened with a lot of help. 

Farmer said Catholic Charities helped her find an available piece of land. Mennonites brought an army of volunteers to build her home within about three months. Many other people and organizations donated items locals who lost homes needed.

“Three hundred pairs of hands to come build a house, for little old me,” she said. “It was just amazing. It was also humbling. Humbling is the word I’m looking for, to be the beneficiary of so much generosity and kindness.”

Farmer said she moved eight times between the flood and finally getting back into permanent housing.

“I realize how fortunate I am to come out of a disaster with a lot of stability. It took a while to get stable. But now I would say, the last six years, I felt really comfortable in my home and being back in Jamestown,” she said.

But even “back home,” it is different. So much has changed since the flood. 

“But I’m very grateful to have the house I do live in and to still be part of the Jamestown community – that’s really the important thing," she said.

Today, the property where Farmer's old home stood has been turned into a community garden.

"Where people are growing food and flowers. It makes me happy. It makes me happy that it is being used for that purpose," she said. 

"I'm grateful that they made good use of this beautiful piece of land so they can enjoy it. So I can come back and enjoy it."

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