Being a state ‘native’ is about more than where you are born
By Kathleen Goddeyne
Four years ago, I moved to Colorado to help my family after the death of my mother. I wasn’t enthused about relocating nearly 2,000 miles away from my home, but I hopped a plane from Detroit to Denver anyway.
I wasn’t necessarily forced into becoming a Coloradan, but it wasn’t my first choice.
I think that is why I fit in here, in Colorado, better than I did back home, in Michigan. Coloradans understand that sometimes, you simply must do what needs to be done.
After several wildfires ravaged our state, countless organizations came together to raise money, food, clothing, anything that could be donated, really to help those who needed it.
Concert benefits were thrown, drop off points for donations were set up, people gave up their free time and banned together for our friends on the Front Range.
Colorado is a relatively large state that I consider a melting pot. While it is true that there are native Coloradans, a large chunk of our great state’s population is made up of people that traveled here to start a new life.
I know what you’re thinking, “this all sounds a little wild west to me.” But the truth is, people from all over the nation and even world come to Colorado for many different reasons, but we all stay for one: Colorado is the best place to live.
Believe it or not, I don’t think people stay for the vast variety of beauty of the state. Nor do they stay for the skiing, snowboarding, hiking, or biking in the mountains. We stay here because of the people.
Coloradans have a real sense of community. When a neighbor is in need, we come to their aid, even if they live on the other side of a mountain.
I’ve never lived in a place like this before. Don’t get me wrong; I love Michigan. My heart will always belong to a small rural community in the forest of the northern Lower Peninsula. But the people where I come from would rather judge you and talk about your problems behind your back than actually help you out.
I can’t tell you how many events and fundraisers that I’ve attended or helped with since moving here. People here are constantly moving forward to help each other. I honestly don’t think you will find that sort of interaction in any other state in this nation, but this is what Coloradans do.
Yes, the other 49 states are beautiful and fantastic in they own ways, but Colorado really has something special.
After one of the most devastating summers we have had in quite some time, I see Coloradans coming together more than ever.
I think it is safe to say that all of our hearts broke on July 20.
James Holmes wounded 58 and murdered 12 more of our Colorado community. His actions are unforgivable and I believe that he deserves no mercy.
The damage and heartache for those families that lost brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, will never go away. These families must walk through life with the burden of wondering why.
It is our job as a state to come together yet again in our darkest hour. I believe that the camaraderie shared by all Coloradans won’t fix anything because this situation cannot be “fixed,” but it will help us move forward. We will never forget what happened that night in the Century Movie Theater, but we can lend our support to help our state heal.
At the moment, I’m unsure how to help the families involved in the Aurora shooting, but I know that we will, as a community, come up with something.
We will, somehow, find the light to lead us out of this tragedy because that’s what Coloradans do.
I’m a true Coloradan. Are you?