2015 is starting out on a rough note. The start of a new year should bring an end to the difficulties of the previous year and renewed optimism for the future. So it is hard when the year begins with a series of events including sickness, death, roadblocks, and obstacles. It just doesn’t seem right.
You may not agree with me, but I firmly believe that we learn and gain from everything we go through in this life. I am not saying I like it, that I don’t get angry with it, that I don’t question why. I am not saying it hurts any less. But it is part of this precious thing we call life.
This year our community has lost a wonderful, very powerful, but quiet leader. Lawrence “Buzz” Zancanella was Glenwood’s Fire Chief, but he never held an elected office. He quietly reminded us of our history, but was not one to write letters to the editor. He created bubbles on the corner, but never climbed a soapbox. Yet, at his passing, a community mourned. And I mean that. For days, my Facebook account was filled with concern after learning of his heart attack. When news came that he had died, the memories of what he did for this community and what an impact this one man had on so many lives filled my inbox.
He cared for his family, for his nation, for his God and for his community. He was a man of action; just not the kind of action that makes headlines. Here are three items plucked from hundreds of comments on Facebook:
Chris Chambers: I was playing with matches near the school bus barn, I think I was around 9 at the time, and caught the dry grass on fire all along the outside wall. I did what any responsible child would do and ran as fast as I could back home. Of course everyone knew everyone in those days so I was caught having been seen fleeing the area. Buzz had my mother bring me down to the fire station and held a mock trial that scared me straight. I never played with matches again.
Kevin White: Not too long ago, Buzz invited me into his home so I could help him scan some larger images for his posts, I had known Buzz all my life, yet had never really spent any time with him. What an awesome treat it was to talk Glenwood Springs history with him that afternoon. He proudly showed me all of his GWS treasures, from bottles of hot springs water to commemorative spoons to beautifully framed pictures of the pool and Hotel Colorado. It was a true honor to share his space for even those few minutes. They will be with me forever.
Roz Eberle :The last time I saw Buzz was a couple of years ago when we were in town. I told him how much we all loved his postings. While he was pleased, he quickly asked about my mom. He was a man of great kindness, a man of generous spirit, and a man of great faith. Go well, Buzz. We will never forget you.
My eldest son and his friends spent many hours at Buzz and Gracie’s home, partly because of Gracie’s wonderful cooking and partly because Buzz and Gracie valued their company. The feeling was completely mutual. They have my unending gratitude.
Buzz epitomized the word community. He raised the bar for us all in Glenwood. And while he loved Glenwood’s history and the way it was when he was growing up, he knew that change was inevitable. Let’s honor Buzz by looking out for each other and looking forward to a new year, complete with its challenges. Let’s work on making Glenwood Springs the best community ever . . . in every sense of the word.
Rest in peace Buzz. Your community thanks you for all you have done.