BLACK FOREST, Colo. - The founder of the National Mill Dog Rescue lost everything she owned in the Black Forest Fire, but a precious possession was replaced through the efforts of a Texas woman.
Dina Lanier of Fort Worth presented Theresa Strader with a new American flag. The flag replaces the burned casket flag of Strader's late father, Army veteran James Meehan. He died 19 years ago this week.
"I'm getting a piece of my father back -- a really meaningful piece," said Strader as she held the flag. "My love of animals and all that I give back in that way, comes from him."
Strader started the rescue from her home five years ago. It has since saved the lives of more than 8,000 dogs taken from poor conditions in puppy mills.
Lanier learned about Strader's situation from an online report on KRDO.com.
"My daddy was in the Navy, so I know what it's like to be presented that flag at a funeral," said Lanier. "Everybody said you get only one flag and I didn't want to stop there."
Lanier said she made several calls to the office of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's office and that he agreed to fly the flag over the state capital in Meehan's honor before sending it to her.
"I felt I'd failed (Meehan), myself and my family in some way because I didn't get the (original) flag," said Strader. "But I know that he never would have wanted me to go back in the house to get anything."
Strader said her father was an inventor with 100 patents when he died.
Strader received the flag during a ceremony on her property along Herring Road. She plans to start rebuilding in three weeks.
After the ceremony, Strader received a check for $600 and supplies donated by a Texas second grade class. The class is taught by Lanier's daughter, Hannah.
The Lanier family's dog, Sarah, came from the mill dog rescue.