Our thoughts go out this week to the community of Augusta and the new owners of the historic Bunkhouse Inn, a main street landmark in Augusta that was completely destroyed by a fire on Oct. 10. We hope that the new owners had insurance and that they will not suffer a catastrophic financial loss, but we grieve for the loss of this historic building that many, many travelers used through the years. Great Falls residents Donna and Channing Hartelius had purchased the inn in about 2017 and did a beautiful job renovating it. They had recently sold the inn to XXXX, who also own the Wagons West motel and RV campground in Augusta.

We also thank all the volunteer firefighters from Augusta, Choteau, Fairfield and other communities as well as the Hutterite colonies and area farmers and ranchers who sent water trucks, equipment and manpower to fight this blaze. These selfless volunteers turned out to help their neighbors in need, and show the spirit of our small communities, where everyone rushes to help when catastrophe or tragedy strikes.