Saturday, June 21,2012 started out like any other day here in Colorado Springs--crisp and clear with gorgeous mountain views.

But 6.21.12 would soon become the day that my adopted hometown was forever changed.

As I witnessed the first plumes of smoke above the mountain ridge, little did I know that I would be witnessing the start of a fire that would soon become the worst in Colorado history.

Last Tuesday, as the changing winds forced 32,000 people, myself included, to evacuate their homes, I knew that many lives would never be the same.

Three hundred and forty-seven homes were destroyed and many more were damaged in the last week.  I was one of the lucky ones who returned to a basically unscathed home; however, my thoughts keep returning to those not so fortunate.

As a 39 year veteran of the Colorado Springs real estate and Community Services arena, I was either personally or professionally involved with many of the fire victims.  I sold the homes that were destroyed to a number of them.  To me, the fire not only destroyed the homes, it completely affected the lives of families I have come to view as friends.

The devastation many of them are experiencing has affected my life too as I contemplate the consequences these families are now facing.  My heart goes out to them all.

My thoughts are also focused on the leadership and amazing response of the City of Colorado Springs to the tragic events of the past week.

This is a city that has never had to deal with such devastation, yet each and every one from the Mayor's office and Fire Department to the local broadcast and print news and the U.S. Park Service all played a vital role in keeping the public safe and informed throughout this ordeal.

I am personally and professionally involved with many of these individuals also, and I want to publicly express my gratitude to them all.  They are living examples of the meaning of teamwork and I've never been prouder and more grateful to them than I am at this moment in time.

So, while I am not sending you my usual musings and advice, I thought it more appropriate that we all take a minute this week to be grateful for all we have in our lives and to reach out to those who may not be so fortunate.