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MEEKER I Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) and sponsors of the Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence have informed the Meeker Chamber of Commerce that the project “Rio Blanco County Veterans Memorial” is a winner of “The Best Small Town Public Space Project” award.
In a letter DCI Executive Director Katherine Correll wrote to Meeker Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stephanie Kobald, “Here is what the judges had to say about your project: ‘In early 2013, the Rio Blanco post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars proposed a visionary concept to enhance the public space in front of the 1935 Rio Blanco County Courthouse by adding a memorial statue celebrating the veterans from that area. In less than a year, this dynamic and inspiring grassroots effort culminated with the creation of a strong coalition, successful fundraising effort and identification and utilization of local artists and resources to enhance this community’s central gathering space.’”
The award will be formally presented at 6 p.m. at the Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence Reception on Sept. 11 at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins. The reception is held during DCI’s annual statewide conference, titled “Vibrant Colorado Downtowns.”
The nomination was prepared by Meeker Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stephanie Kobald.
The persons traveling to Fort Collins to accept the award are: Meeker Chamber Vice President Wendy Gutierrez; Joe Dungan, a member of the VFW and the veterans’ services advisor for Rio Blanco County; VFW Commander David Cole and his wife, Martha; VFW members Tom Kilduff and Mike Gould; and chamber membership director Danyel Harmon.
The statue, by Meeker sculptor John Kobald, is of an infantry soldier facing west in full attire.
On the pedestal are plaques explaining the memorial, which is titled “Sacrifice and Resolution,” and other plaques displaying the official seals of each of the Armed Forces.
An identical memorial will be dedicated this fall in Rangely, honoring all the men and women of Rio Blanco County who have ever served in the military — in times of war and peace.
Both statues were the subject of fundraising by the VFWs in Rangely and Meeker.