It was a beautiful day for a picnic in the forest when the Benedictine Sisters at Benet Hill Monastery and several hundred of their friends thanked first responders who had been on the job in their area during the Black Forest fire.

The fourth Picnic in the Pines on July 20 allowed everyone to step back from the fire recovery efforts to eat Chef Patrick's barbecue luncheon, visit with former Denver Bronco Randy Gradishar, take pony rides, learn about raptors and enjoy music by Sunnyside Up Brass while they explored the peaceful retreat grounds.

First responders from Black Forest Fire Department, Tri-Lakes Fire Department, Westcott Fire District and others, along with their families, brought several trucks and ambulances along for children to check out as firefighters visited with area residents and the sisters.

Picnic in the Pines committee members included Julie Armstrong, Sister Rose Ann Barmann, Cindy Costanza, Joan Klein, Bliss Krucas, Jennifer Miller, Patty O'Halloran, Ernie Romero, Jeff Rugis, Maryann Stadjuhar and Gene Tourville.

More Benet Pines photos at http: //