Part of Their Story

How One Louisville Family is Moving Forward After the Marshall Fire

Article by Lisa Van Horne

Photography by Katy Tartakoff

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Longtime Louisville resident Lisa Rogers always knew that her daughter’s February 2022 wedding would be a joyful and happy occasion. But Lisa didn’t realize just how poignant the event would end up being, as it took on an even more special meaning after the Marshall Fire in December 2021.

“After losing our home I was living in a fog, which was a way of coping with the enormity of the situation,” says Lisa. “On the day of the wedding, when I arrived at the venue, the fog cleared. We all needed this wedding more than we ever knew—family, friends and the air full of love. Life was moving forward and continuing on.”

For Lisa and her family, the Marshall Fire was a devastating event that resulted in the loss of their home, pets and belongings. But with her daughter’s wedding taking place locally just weeks later, Lisa notes that this time of profound sadness has been buoyed by a sense of joy and looking ahead.

Lisa and her family have lived on the Front Range since 1996, moving to Old Town Louisville after spending time overseas in New Zealand. They built what was intended to be their forever home in unincorporated Boulder County just over six years ago, which included an at-home pottery studio for Lisa, who is a retired high school art teacher of 25 years. The home was a welcoming space ideal for gatherings of their children, family, friends and strangers who crossed their paths.

After the losses of the fire, Lisa and her family were floored by the support that they experienced from their friends and the community. Having lost her wedding dress in the fire, Lisa’s daughter was able to purchase a new one—which Lisa notes was even more beautiful than the first—thanks to outreach from friends. This is just one instance of a long line of kindnesses that Lisa notes have affected her profoundly.

“I have been truly touched by the kindness of others,” Lisa says. “I will carry what I have learned about giving with me throughout my life. I have learned so much, and I hope to pay it forward somehow in the future.”

Lisa further explains that, just as her daughter’s wedding is now part of her family’s story, so is the Marshall Fire and its aftermath. It’s for this reason that she reached out to Katy Tartakoff, the photographer who has been taking photos of her family for years, shortly before her daughter’s wedding. She wanted to capture photos both of the site of their destroyed home as well as the newlywed bride and groom.

“I wanted to mark this time, both the sadness and the joy,” says Lisa. “This is part of our story and of our history now, and these photos connect our family events of the time, both the good and the bad.”

While Lisa notes that her family’s recovery from the Marshall Fire is ongoing and complex—a roller coaster of managing practical decisions and grappling with emotional responses of grief, gratitude and many more—the healing has begun as well.

“The love of the community keeps me going on a regular basis,” says Lisa. “The outpouring of giving and compassion of others was and is the light in the tunnel that keeps this experience manageable.”

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