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Ten years of grit, grace and gratitude: Town of Lyons hosts official flood remembrance ceremony

"We were a community and then we became a family."
Posted at 9:35 AM, Sep 11, 2023

LYONS, Colo. — The Town of Lyons hosted a flood remembrance ceremony Sunday in Sandstone Park, marking a decade since historic rainfall caused widespread destruction.

Dozens of residents gathered to reflect and remember the worst disaster in the town's history. With more than 17 inches of rainfall over a two-day span, the waters carved Lyons into six islands.

Claudia Paterno remembers Sept. 10, 2013, like it was yesterday.

"It was raining and raining and it actually was my daughter who said, 'Mom, I think the river's getting pretty high,'" Paterno said.

Alongside many of her neighbors, Paterno spent Sunday in Sandstone Park at the town's official remembrance ceremony.

Mayor Hollie Rogin declared Sunday, Sept. 10 Grit, Grace & Gratitude Day in the Town of Lyons to remember the remarkable recovery that has brought the community closer.

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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis attended the event. He said the town's legacy isn't the flood — it's the remarkable recovery. During Polis' remarks, he said fires, droughts and other weather events are happening more than ever before and the state needs to be ready to respond.

Sen. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Michael Bennet, Congressman Joe Neguse and Commissioner Marta Loachamin were also in attendance.

Many attending were wearing the town's message on their backs.

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There were also pieces recovered after the storm on display at the Lyons Regional Library, as a part of the town's remembrance events.

"We cleaned it a little bit but we left some dirt and rocks in it," said artist Cathy Rivers as she pointed to a piano keyboard that was pulled from the riverbank nearly a year after the flood.

While not everyone wants to remember destruction, Paterno said looking back, it's made the town what it is today.

"We were a community and then we became a family," she said.

The town will host a candlelight vigil Monday at Confluence Circle to reflect on this significant event. That runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.