The voice of calm during the Waldo Canyon fire storm speaks out about her part in the crisis and her recollections, months later. I sat down with Jerri Marr on Friday at the Manitou Springs Fire Department. It's an appropriate place when you consider all the fire heroes and other first responders who helped save property and lives during the late June, Waldo Canyon wildfire.
Marr reflected back on the crisis telling me, "Never had I been at a fire that had this many values at risk, no matter which direction the wind would blow. The U.S. Forest Service's Jerri Marr was the start and finish fixture of the daily news conferences during the wildfire. The world was watching along with Southern Colorado to track the path of this storm.
Marr has been hailed a hero for her calmness and way she kept the flow of information going out to people hungry for information. She told me, "I don't consider myself a hero. The men and women who picked up shovels and hoses and stood on the line. They are my heroes. They truly saved our community."
Nearly 350 homes were lost in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood of Colorado Springs. A man and a woman died in their home during this fire storm. However as Marr pointed out that out of the rubble and tragedy there were still 80 percent of the homes in this area that had been saved.
There have been lingering questions about how the fire was fought, if a strategy could have been changed to help change the outcome. Marr told me, "I think it's easy for some folks to Monday Morning Quarterback and say what did you do here and there. My answer is the same. We used the resources we had. We worked with everybody."
Jerri Marr is now helping to give hope to future generations in a different way. In addition to her Forest Service job she is an inspirational speaker. She had just spoken this morning to a group of young women. Marr said she's excited to do this, "To let them know you have all the potential in the world you can be anything you want to be."