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Waterloo Man Reaches Out to Wildfire Victims

Larry Busch

Photo courtesy of Larry Busch

You get a good feeling out of it. People are helping, and they are appreciative.

Though fires in Colorado are raging this summer, Larry Busch, 63, of Waterloo, isn't letting the heat burn out his passion for volunteering.

For the past three weeks, Busch has volunteered with the American Red Cross by assisting Colorado residents displaced by the 12 fires surrounding the Colorado Springs area.

While volunteering took up 11 to 13 hours of his day, Busch said, "It's not that bad, you kind of get into a groove. And everyone does it, so it's not like you're the only one."

During his time in Colorado, Busch's tasks included finding donors for in-kind donations, sifting through inventory and sending out thank-you cards to the various donors who assisted displaced home owners.

"There's people offering items before we even ask for it," Busch said. "They've been kind and community-wise, we haven't had that much of an issue trying to find something."

The forested areas and "dry lightning" --- lightning occurring without much precipitation --- can spread forest fires quickly.

During the recent Fourth of July celebrations, areas chose not to hold fireworks displays, for fear they could cause more wild fires. And while the fires caused mass devastation for families affected, "You can see the appreciation from the people," Busch said. "About 99 percent of them, you can see the smiles on their faces, and you can see people are happy to see you."

Assisting with the Colorado fires is not the first time Busch has left his home to assist people in need, however. Over the past eight years, he's volunteered during the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, flooding in Mississippi, "and of course, the Parkersburg tornado," Busch said.

Through it all, the retired Waterloo resident is just happy to help people in need.

"You get a good feeling out of it," Busch said. "People are helping, and they are appreciative."

Story courtesy of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier -