When the LCMS director of digital media and the editors of the July Reporter purchased an Associated Press photograph to accompany a story about the wildfires raging in the western United States, they had no idea the couple hugging on a rooftop in the photo were members of an LCMS congregation.
Reporter Managing Editor Joe Isenhower Jr. said it was a “surprising coincidence” when he got an email from Rock of Ages Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs, letting him know the rooftop couple are members there. A quick phone call to Rock of Ages Pastor Ronald Baker, and Isenhower had confirmed their names: Greg and Karen Bodine.
The Bodines were helping Karen’s parents, Duane and Becky Schormann, evacuate from their home in Cascade, Colo., on June 24 when they saw a “flare-up” amidst the smoke in the distance and decided to climb up on the roof for a better view.
A local photographer was there and took the photo. Through AP, the photo was available to any media outlet employing AP’s services.
Greg Bodine is a firefighter with the Woodland Park, Colo., fire department, and Karen Bodine and her father are volunteers with the Cascade fire department, so the family had been helping out just about every day, taking part in patrols and feeding “a lot of cats,” according to Karen, who also serves as Sunday school superintendent at Rock of Ages.
The Schormanns, a neighboring couple and another relative stayed with the Bodines in their “tiny, little, two-bedroom house” for a week — from June 24 until the evacuation was lifted on July 1, according to Karen Bodine, who laughed that the experience was a bit “chaotic” from time to time.
As of July 3, every home in Cascade had escaped the flames — which came within 20 feet of some houses there, Karen told Reporter — and the community is now out of danger.
But when she and her husband were standing on the roof of her parents’ home a week earlier, she was thinking “that was it and this would be the last time I saw this house,” she recalled. “I thought for sure that all of Cascade would not survive with the conditions we had, but God willing and with all the crews working diligently to keep the fire away from homes — amazing.”
Karen Bodine added that she hopes “all those who have lost from this can find the strength to rebuild and move on.”
Baker said one Rock of Ages member family had lost everything to the fire, and the church building — which was only a mile from the flames — is also out of danger now.
“It was looking serious” on June 26-27, when the congregation was in “pre-evacuation mode,” he told Reporter, but evacuation was never necessary.
As of July 3, he said, “the fire was 75 percent controlled.”
The LCMS continues to monitor the fire situation in the Rocky Mountain and Montana Districts and stands ready to assist as requested.
Posted July 5, 2012