Coworkers Come Together after Catastrophe

National River Cleanup works with companies to host river cleanup events across the country, learn how and why Nite Ize came together to help the rivers in their area.

Credit: Anne Paterson

This is a guest blog by Kelly Richardson, Public Relations Specialist, Nite Ize

It was called the “100-year flood.” In September 2013, the Colorado Front Range saw an uncharacteristic downpour that drenched, damaged, and devastated communities across roughly 150 miles – a scene reminiscent to the ones in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico this past month. Almost overnight, the rising waters of the St. Vrain Creek – a tributary of the South Platte River that flows through Longmont, Colorado – overflowed, turning asphalt roadways into raging rivers that quickly saturated homes, leveled businesses, totaled vehicles, and claimed victims.

Nite Ize employees brought their families out to help clean the St. Vrain. | Kelly Richardson

Four years later, the effects are still felt by the Longmont community and surrounding areas. Many employees at Nite Ize, a Boulder-based manufacturer, are among those that call Longmont home and the grim memories of this unprecedented event still linger.

“Because a large percentage of our employee base lives in Longmont, deciding to work with American Rivers on a company cleanup event in our backyard was important,” Nite Ize Director of Marketing Brenda Isaac said. “We believe in the mission of American Rivers and, as an official supporter of the organization, we were excited to celebrate our partnership with an event that really meant something to our employees and their families.”

Last year, Nite Ize launched a new corporate giving initiative called The Brite Side and chose American Rivers as the first official program partner. “The Brite Side is about focusing on what we want to see in the world around us and working together with organizations that support that vision,” Nite Ize Founder and CEO Rick Case says. “It’s about doing good things, with good people, and always looking for The Brite Side.”

Volunteers pulled a horse from a children’s rocking horse toy set out of the river. | Kelly Richardson

With that mission in mind, 55 volunteers collected 1,500 pounds of trash from roughly 1.5 miles along the St. Vrain Creek and Golden Ponds Park area this past August. Some of the more unusual debris found included a horse from a children’s rocking horse toy set, a University of Colorado letterman jacket, couch cushions, and a silver bracelet with a love note.

These items have a story that many will never know – but more than likely they were washed upon the shores of the St. Vrain during the flood and have remained half hidden and forever forgotten. American Rivers works hard to restore damaged rivers like the St. Vrain to conserve clean water for people and nature. Removing trash and debris from waterways and disposing of it properly is an important part of ongoing flood restoration for the City of Longmont and a task that both Nite Ize and American Rivers were not only dedicated to, but enthusiastic about.

Clearly, it takes many years and many hands to help restore and heal a community after a disaster like this. For all those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria hang in there. There is a long road ahead, but with the help of friends, family, neighbors, and millions of others around the country, you will endure this.

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