Before El Paso County Deputy Micah Flick was killed on the job, Sundays were for family.
Micah and his siblings would gather each week at their parents' home in the Briargate area to share a meal and stay connected. In the summer, they'd put up tables in the front yard under the trees and drape them in cloth like something you'd see on an outdoor cooking show.
That tradition will continue, thanks to the dozens of landscaping companies that transformed the family's yard Friday, including planting "Micah's tree" in memoriam.
"This area is really special because for years this is where our family hung out," Micah's mother, Chenoa Flick said.
"This is where we live in the summer," his father, Tim Flick, said.
Micah was killed in a gunbattle Feb. 5 when his auto theft task force attempted to arrest a suspected car thief. Three other law enforcement officers and a bystander were wounded in the shooting, which remains under investigation. The suspect, Manuel Zetina, 19, also was killed.
The yard is where Micah threw a football and kicked around a soccer ball with friends, including one of the landscapers helping out on the project, Jonathan Campbell of Colorado Stoneworks Landscaping.
Last summer, it's where the Flick children held fierce cornhole competitions with boards they'd made. Micah's had superheroes - one side Superman, the other Batman, said his widow, Rachael Flick.
It's where the family "built a lot of love with one another," Rachael said.
In 36 hours, crews gave the space a makeover, installing a newly leveled lawn for Micah's twin children, along with a play area. They built a retaining wall, put in a new irrigation system, added multiple garden beds and, under the usual canopy, designed a large outdoor patio for the family's future Sunday meals.
They also planted "Micah's tree," an Autumn Blaze maple that, as its name suggests, will turn deep red in the fall as if it is on fire. Rachael admits she didn't pick the tree - she didn't review any of the designs ahead of time, but said it is a species the family had come to admire at their old home, as they watched it "flame into fall" every year.
She hopes the tree will be a strong symbol her children can remember Micah by, as it continues to grow along with them.
"Beauty heals," Rachael said.
All of the materials, design and labor for the project were donated by more than 18 local member companies of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado as part of their annual Day of Service. A small group of Falcon High School students interested in landscaping also assisted.
The companies chose the project to "showcase how special Micah was, his family is, and how the community wants to pitch in and support them," Campbell said.
Even the owner of Timberline Landscaping, Tim Emick, was there to assist, just two days after losing his home in the 117 fire Tuesday. One of Timberline's employees graduated with Tim Flick, Emick said.
"We're bent, not broken," Emick said of his own loss. But his words also reflected the strength of the Flick family, whose profound loss of a father, son, husband, brother and friend is "a change," Rachael said, "we're learning to adapt to."
Through all the grief, though, the family said they've felt the community's love, and they're thankful.
"This whole situation stinks," Tim said. "Losing a child stinks, but the community has been so supportive and so helpful. We've been overwhelmed by that."
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