By all accounts, Lyons Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen has gone above and beyond, not only in the immediate emergency response to the September flood that wiped out much of her town, but in the recovery effort that ensued.
“She’s been working tirelessly, nonstop, 24 hours a day, working with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] to help her little community,” says Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.
Lyons Town Clerk Deb Anthony says Simonsen and another employee who live in Lyons were the only ones on duty for days because the other staffers couldn’t get into town.
“They were up for virtually 72 hours straight,” Anthony says, noting that the floodwaters even separated Simonsen from her home for a period of time.
Anthony adds that Simonsen has been working tirelessly ever since and seems to have a boundless amount of energy.
“She didn’t stop,” she says of Simonsen. “It was just incredible, the way she just kept everything going and everything straight in her head all the time.”
Anthony also notes that under Simonsen’s leadership, the majority of the town’s residents have returned.
“She wanted everybody home by the holidays,” she says of Simonsen. “We don’t have everybody, we still have some people down in the confluence area whose homes are just not habitable at this point. But she’s probably got 80 percent of the town or more back home, with all their utilities. … We’re lucky to have her. She is just awesome.”
Longmont Emergency Manager Dan Eamon agrees that Simonsen deserves recognition, saying that the depth of what Lyons has endured pales in comparison to what his city experienced.
“I was so impressed with the way she kept it together,” he says. “She was a steadfast leader for her town. She believes in her community, and that was her goal, to get her community back on track.”
Det. Cmdr. Jeff Satur of the Longmont Police Department echoed those sentiments, noting that his city provided assistance to the Town of Lyons in various ways, and Simonsen was not too proud to ask for help when it was needed.
“She did a good job of getting Lyons back on its feet,” Satur says. “She had the comfort to say, ‘We can’t do this all by ourselves.’ They leaned on Longmont a lot.”