RMCNews – Louisville, Colorado … Just three short weeks after the Marshall fire came within four feet of Avista Adventist Hospital’s oxygen tanks and covered everything inside with a thick layer of soot and ashes, the hospital reopened to serve the communities of Louisville and Superior.

Teams of professional cleaners scrubbed the hospital as maintenance workers replaced HVAC systems and air filters throughout the building. Areas were cleaned and sanitized multiple times before clearance was given that the hospital was ready to resume its mission of “extending the healing ministry of Christ by caring for those who are ill and by nurturing the health of the people in our communities.”

When Avista Adventist Hospital reopened on January 18, Colorado Governor Polis toured the site and thanked the associates for the bravery and hard work in reopening so quickly.

In an interview with radio station KOA, broadcasting live from Avista Adventist Hospital, Polis said, “It is great to see them bouncing back and reopening only three weeks after the fire when they evacuated the entire facility in just two hours.  It is actually quite remarkable.”

As the hospital reopened, associates and local pastors gathered in the lobby to pray a prayer of thanksgiving and dedication as they resumed their life-saving work.

Geoff Patterson, senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church, explained why it was vital to be at the dedication to show support to the community. “The workers are so heroic in what they did on the day of the fire bringing everyone out of here safely, and their commitment shows that this is more than a job to them. Secondly, there is a history with the Boulder church and this institution that originally was part of what was behind the church. The health ministry built [the foundation of] what the Boulder church is to this day.”

The short service, held in the main lobby, began with chaplain Johnnathan Ward thanking the associates for their hard work to make reopening a possibility and thanked the local area pastors for being present for the associates as they navigated this disaster together.

The short ceremony also featured hospital CEO Isaac Sendros reading a poem from an associate who lost everything in the fire. In his letter to associates on January 17, Sendros said that the new city manager of Louisville had one word when he asked him what Avista could do for the city. The city manager said, “Reopen!  Avista is a pillar of hope in this community, and the fact that you are reopening as quickly as you are is sending a clear message to this community that the recovery and healing process is one step closer.”

Reflecting on having the associates back in the building, Sendros said, “It is so good to see everyone home. We’ve missed them!  A lot of people have been here working, but we are excited to have them back and our patients back.”

–RMCNews; photos courtesy of Avista Adventist Hospital and Jon Roberts