VFW/American Legion Dinner; Ford and Trout give updates

MEEKER | AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY GIRLS STATE CAMP REPORT

Incoming Meeker High School senior Lacey Ford was sponsored by the Meeker American Legion Post 0074 for participation in the American Legion Auxiliary Girls’ State Camp on the University of Northern Colorado campus in Greeley in June with 160 delegates from across the state. Ford reported on her experience to the VFW Post 5843, Auxiliary, American Legion Post 74 meeting in Meeker last Thursday.
The purpose of the camp is “to provide an outstanding, unique, and coveted educational opportunity for the young women of our nation that instills [in them] the basic ideals and principles of American government through citizenship training programs.”
American Legion Auxiliary units in all 50 states proudly host a Girls State program they say is an amazing week of learning, focused on responsible citizenship and love for God and Country. Students are assigned to mock cities where, divided into the Federalist and Nationalist Parties, they are immersed in learning about the political process from dedicated volunteers. The Bill Daniels Foundation of Denver helps fund the Colorado program.
Favorite activities at Girls State include the Krav Maga self-defense course and the trip to the State Capitol in Denver. At the Capitol, participants sat in the chairs of the state representatives and senators, and conducted the last of the “legislative sessions” for which they had been practicing. Elected Governor of the Girls State mock experience, Victoria Luke, described, in an online post to her colleagues, that their legislative sessions, county and state assemblies, town meetings, choir, talent show, banquet, whistle-stop tour, open forum, ice cream social, elections, guest speakers, flag retirement ceremony, etc., kept the week very busy.
For her part, Ford told the Meeker Legionnaires and friends that the camp opened up a world of which she had little to no prior knowledge. She admitted it challenged her comfort zone. Her one wish was that she could have been more open-minded going in as she thought that would have made it more fun from the beginning. Ford talked about how difficult it was to pass any “pretend” legislation because, when it came to important matters, not enough people could agree. Ford said they were able to pass less important measures like whether or not the attendees could wear their pajamas to breakfast. She says she learned a lot and made some lasting friendships.

Cemetery Headstones, Pavers, Medallions and Markers

Members met over dinner provided by Martha and David Cole, and held a joint session for their groups. The meeting was presided over by VFW Post Commander Rob Baughman. Other business included a presentation by Vanessa Trout, office manager at Meeker’s Highland Cemetery, regarding veterans headstones available for placement at the cemetery. Also, she listed markers, medallions and pavers available for military, auxiliary and civil servant personnel. Trout provided a notebook of information and order forms which is now available in the commons area at the VFW Hall, 290 Fourth St., Meeker. A copy is also to be available at the office of Meeker county veterans service representative, Joe Bob Dungan, at 970-878-9690. Persons can also contact Trout at the cemetery, 970-878-5013.

Veterans Assistance Grant

The Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has granted the Meeker VFW $5,000 for reimbursement of veteran travel to medical appointments for which they are not otherwise reimbursed by the VA and for direct veteran assistance.  This grant is administered locally by the Meeker VFW and Rio Blanco County Veterans Service Officer, Joe Dungan. Recipients do not need to be members of our VFW or American Legion, and this is available to any honorably discharged or active duty veteran within Rio Blanco County.  For further information, call Dungan at 970-878-9690.

Veterans Center Hours; New Members

The Meeker Community Veterans Center at Fourth and Main streets is now open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. regularly, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for anyone to stop by, grab some coffee, tea or milk, have conversation, watch TV or use the computer. Retired United Methodist minister and counselor, John Walls (johnmelwalls@gmail.com), is also available by appointment. Auxiliary president Vicki Crawford noted that the VFW and Auxiliary will pay the first year annual membership dues for any and all new members.
New members welcomed at the dinner last week were Richard “Doc” Seklecki (Air Force), who had just moved to Meeker from Gypsum ten days prior, and new Pioneers Medical Center board member Brian Bofinger (Navy). William Casias (Army) has also been recognized as a new member.