Defensive end Ben Garland was one of four Broncos players to go to Fort Collins, Colorado to meet with and thank firefighters who have battled out-of-control blazes there.
And he did while nearly mourning a loss deeper than a few belongings.
Garland’s grandparents had to quickly evacuate with what possessions they could carry Tuesday, and lost their home in Colorado Springs to the Waldo Canyon fire.
Sharon and Hal Garland are now staying with their grandson, a third-year former undrafted free agent who’s trying to hang onto a job with the Broncos. While staying there, they saw aerial photographs that confirmed their home was among those lost.
“My grandma is absolutely devastated,” Garland told Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post.
All his family members got out safely, and other relatives have gone to stay with his parents in another part of the state. That personal connection made him want to be a part of a group to visit the firefighters and evacuees.
“I just wanted to thank them for their hard work, going out of their way to save peoples homes and lives,” Garland said. “It was cool to see how community came together. It makes you proud to be a part of Colorado.”
The Broncos have already pledged $50,000 to relief funds, and anyone who wants to help is encouraged to visit HelpColoradoNow.org.