Left to right: Steve Slaughter, University Park driver; Rob Newman, executive director of University Park; Keith Jackson, executive director of Life Care Center of Pueblo; Jack Hobby, University Park driver.

Life Care Center of Pueblo, along with nearby University Park Care Center in Colorado recently assisted in the evacuation of 120 residents from Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center in Walsenburg, Colorado, after wildfire conditions threatened their safety.

 

The fire, which started in Walsenburg, spread to more than 14,000 acres before the evacuation took place on June 29, 2018. Drivers from both University Park Care Center and Life Care Center of Pueblo drove over half an hour each way in facility buses to transport residents to their facilities until conditions became safe again.

 

“Both Life Care Center of Pueblo and University Park took in more displaced veterans than any other local facility,” said Rob Newman, executive director of University Park Care Center. “We even took more than the local hospitals.”

 

Newman and Keith Jackson, executive director of Life Care Center of Pueblo, drove their personal vehicles on multiple trips to and from the evacuated facility to transport necessary equipment to accommodate the displaced residents.

 

The evacuees stayed at the Pueblo facilities from June 29 until July 6 when the wind shifted direction and the fire became contained.

 

“They felt welcome and adapted well,” said Peggy Latham, a social worker at Life Care Center of Pueblo. “They attended activities and seemed to enjoy the different food choices.”

 

While guests were excited to get back to their home facility, a number of guests liked University Park Care Center so much that some wanted to stay.

 

“We definitely expect a few families to be reaching out to us to see about future placements,” Newman joked.