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Ground broken for Colorado Freedom Memorial

SUN Columnist

After 12 years of fund-raising, research and planning, the Colorado Freedom Memorial finally broke ground Saturday.

More than a hundred people, including veterans, community members and families of those who have served, gathered to pay tribute and celebrate a one-of-a-kind memorial.

The memorial will include 6,000 names, to honor every Colorado veteran killed in action since 1876.

The memorial will be constructed of glass that will reflect Colorado’s mountains and blue skies.

It will be 14 feet tall and 100 feet wide and have a place to reflect and pray and space for celebrations and gatherings.

The memorial will be located near Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora and should be completed by May 26, 2013.

“It is so wonderful that we are here today to honor the fallen from our home state with this memorial and it will be a testament to the sacrifices of the men and women who have left this soil to defend this country,” Rep. Mike Coffman, (R) Colorado, said.

“The Colorado Freedom Memorial is a long overdue recognition of the debt we owe thousands of Colorado families for the sacrifice of their loved ones to keep us free,” Colorado Freedom Memorial founder and president Rick Crandall said. “We’ve spent 12 years trying to raise money for construction and researching the names that should be on the memorial and at times it seemed like this day would never come. It’s hard to describe the emotions we all feel right now.”

The memorial will cost $1.5 million, all of which has been raised by volunteers.

Trust Fund

The Trust Fund Grant has directed a change of rules. All requests for travel/lodging reimbursement must have the following: Printed copy of appointment, copy of receipt for gas payment and/or receipt of lodging payment. Payment from Trust Fund will be to the amount on receipts: No receipt-no payment.

Ensure you apply for Travel through VAMC Albuquerque, whenever possible.

If a veteran is eligible for VA Travel payments, no reimbursements are authorized through the Trust Fund Grant.

Benefits

For information on VA benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center.

The office number is 264-4013, fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590, and e-mail is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll, and for filing in the Archuleta County VSO office.

Meetings

The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:

American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month, 7 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

American Legion Post 108 Ladies Auxiliary: second Tuesday of the month @ 4 pm, 287 Hermosa St.

Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday, 10 a.m., Quality Inn.

Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: every other Monday, 6 p.m., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Parish Hall, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Charlotte, 731-1025.

Point Man Ministry (veterans): every Thursday, 9 a.m., Crossroad Church, 1044 Park Ave.

Contacts

Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: 247-2214.

Farmington VA Center: (505) 327-9684.

The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7, 365 days a year. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online, or text 838255.

This story was posted on February 7, 2013.