Our Hearts Are With Our Community Of Boulder, Colorado
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Boulder, Colorado is The18’s home. Personally, I lived in the south of town for three years.
I can’t tell you how many times I gathered my cleats and balls and set out for the soccer field behind Creekside Elementary. On that sparse lawn in the shadow of the foothills everything would fade, leaving only the soothing tranquility of leather on reinforced rubber.
The routine was bliss: Work up a sweat, cross the footbridge over the murmuring creek and take the path running south through Martin Park, a picturesque neighborhood space with kids scampering around the playground, adults utilizing tennis courts and dogs bounding around a large patch of open turf.
From there you take the path out of the park and arrive at the intersection of South Broadway and Table Mesa Drive. The destination never varies — it’s quintessential to the weekly routine: the King Soopers that serves as the go-to supermarket for everyone in South Boulder.
You cut across the parking lot for Under The Sun and Tandoori Grill, take the sidewalk past Pettyjohn’s Liquor and work your way towards the destination you crave — more specifically, the Strawberry Lemonade Powerade and fried chicken meal from the deli that comes with two sides and a Hawaiian roll.
This is the perfect afternoon; one that clears your head and refreshes your body and mind. If you could, you’d play it over and over again — carefree, happy, secure.
Could the feeling have been any different for the shoppers and employees at King Soopers on Monday afternoon? The certainty and safety of routine, the therapeutic quality of checking off errands, all brought to a terrifying end with the sound of gunfire, screams and the nation’s deadliest mass shooting since El Paso.
For 10 desperately unfortunate victims, that afternoon at King Soopers would be their last. It could've been any of us.
Rikki Olds (25): A front-end manager who’d worked there for eight years and who loved the outdoors, hiking and camping. She was supposed to be the maid of honor at her friend's upcoming wedding.
Lynn Murray (62): A mother of two who was filling an Instacart order.
Tralona Bartkowiak (49): A manager of UmbaLove clothing who had just gotten engaged.
Teri Leiker (51): A 30-year employee of King Soopers and huge supporter of the Colorado Buffaloes.
Kevin Mahoney (61): A soon-to-be grandfather who walked his daughter down the aisle last summer.
Denny Stong (20): An aspiring pilot and avid dirt biker who’d worked at the grocery store for several years. He died trying to save others.
Suzanne Fountain (59): A mother, gardner and former actress who’d just started a new career.
Neven Stanisic (23): A repairman who’d just finished fixing a coffee machine at the Starbucks inside and was on his way out.
Jody Waters (65): A mother and grandmother who previously ran a children’s clothing store in Boulder.
Eric Talley (51): The officer who was first on the scene. An 11-year veteran of the Boulder Police Department and a father to seven kids — the youngest being seven and the oldest 20.
The senselessness of it all is incomprehensible, and the weight of a heavy year now feels crushing, but our hearts are with our community.
You can donate to the victims of this tragedy through the Colorado Healing Hund at ColoradoGives.org.