Colorado flood victims receive surprise checks

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DENVER (AP) - Some residents and business owners in the Lyons area got a big surprise in their mailboxes Friday: checks for up to $5,000 to help them as they rebuild their lives following September's flooding.

The Lyons Community Foundation and the Lyons Community Church's emergency fund distributed more than $950,000 to 280 people who submitted applications seeking help. Most weren't notified in advance that they were selected to receive money.

The recipients include musicians who lost not only their home but their livelihood when their recording studio and equipment were swept away, and a young girl who asked for money to buy a Polaroid camera after losing her camera and photos, said Lyon Community Foundation executive director, Emily Dusel.

Dusel said volunteers worked until 3 a.m. to write the checks so the recipients would have them in time for the holidays.

Amanda Anderson and her family received $5,000. Not only did they lose their mobile home in the flood, but she was in a head-on crash this month on her way home from an affordable housing meeting.

They now live in Longmont, and Anderson told the Times-Call that the money would be a big help in covering their more expensive rent. Anderson, a barista at the Barking Dog Cafe, said her boss and some of her co-workers helped her buy a van after the flood.

"This town has been so good to us. They want everyone to succeed. That's how it's always been," she told the newspaper.

Jenna Brink, a hairstylist and owner of the Lyons Mane salon, also lost her mobile home and said her $5,000 check could help blunt the $1,000 monthly rent increase she faces to remain in her beloved town. She might use the money to buy a bed once she finds a new home.

The town of 2,000 residents lost two of its three mobile parks because of the flooding, leaving little affordable housing.

For now, Brink, her 17-year-old daughter and her boyfriend are staying in the basement of her cousin's home in Boulder _ and spending a lot of money on gas _ after losing weeks of income.

"I'll find my way back no matter what," Brink said.

The money came from individual and corporate donations, and from The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County, the Dr. Scholl Foundation and the Foothills Relief Fund. Some funding also came from October's benefit concert featuring Dave Matthews.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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