“Trail Angel” Gillian Hoggard, whose Ordway, Colorado home was destroyed by a wildfire in April, is now rebuilding, with the help of friends, neighbors, and the touring cyclist community.
In 2006, Hoggard received the June Curry Trail Angel Award from the Adventure Cycling Association, which recognizes generous individuals or groups that make the journey easier for traveling cyclists. Gillian provided food, drinks, a warm shower, and free lodging to bicyclists along Adventure Cycling’s TransAmerica Bicycle Route, making her home a welcome oasis on the hot, dry, and windy high plains of eastern Colorado. Gillian declining any money cyclists offered, saying “You can pay me back by giving to someone else when you have a chance.”
After the April 15th fire, which consumed 14 square miles in and around Ordway, and killed two volunteer firefighters, Gillian has begun to rebuild, with the help of touring cyclists from around the world, who have contributed funds and labor to help restore her buildings and replant the gardens and trees that once filed her property.
“Her place had a shield of green around it,” said Craig Sternagel, who flew to Colorado from his home in Washington state to help. He’d heard stories about Hoggard long before pedaling to her front door last summer. “It was a contrast to all the bare prairie we’d seen in Kansas and eastern Colorado.” Although Gillian’s home is gone, Craig said that she has two travel trailers on her property, one for her and one for guests.
Local churches and community groups have also contributed, helping to haul away debris, raising a barn, and repairing fences.
“Gillian’s like a lot of these ranchers, by nature very independent,” Stuart Booth, community case manager for the fire victims, said. “It’s hard for them to ask for help, even when they’ve lost everything.”
You can help by sending a tax-deductible donation to the Ordway Community Fund, in care of First National Bank, PO Box 278, Ordway, CO 81063.
Read more: Kindness comes full cycle, Newest Trail Angel makes life easier for bicycle travelers, TransAmerica “Trail Angel’s” home destroyed in Colorado fire, Gillian in Ordway, Cyclists ‘pay-it-forward’ after Colo. supporter loses home in fire