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Jul 6, 2012 9:08 PM by Jacqui Heinrich

Sifting through the ashes

As people return to the Mountain Shadows area-- ravaged by the Waldo Canyon fire-- many are sifting through the rubble of their homes, trying to find anything salvageable. For one family, picking up the pieces isn't what makes them whole.

The Hillman family spent Friday afternoon rummaging through ash, melted metal, and crumbling brick, finding a trinket here and there. They say despite the trauma, the experience of their loss has taught them one thing. "Fire doesn't destroy community," Brad Hillman says, a shovel in hand.

Their plan is to rebuild; but first, they're taking a look at the past. "We knew we weren't gonna take any of this to heaven with us but we were hoping to pass it on to our kids, it's part of our story and our family and our history and now we don't have that to pass on. It's mostly burned or broken but we're finding the occasional piece that looks like we'll be able to have as a momento for our kids," Hillman says.

They're keeping their spirits high in a time of darkness, joking about the Homeowner's Association writing them up for having a messy lawn, urging each other not to break anything as they trudge through piles of rubble. "At this point you just laugh and keep going, you've gotta have a sense of humor at this point."

Despite their grief, they say the fact that they're all together is all that truly matters-- and it's that fact that keeps them smiling through it all.

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