Honoring our military and their families | MyWindsorNow.com

Honoring our military and their families

Sandi Squicquero
For Windsor Now!

We will never be able to measure the damage that our wars have done to our veterans and those who love them. I am always grateful and inspired when I learn of another organization that has been formed to help our military and their families.

In Northern Colorado, among these we have the American Legion Forbes-Mckay Post 109, established in 1990. On July 20, a Memorial Poker Run was sponsored by the American Legion and the family and friends to honor Marine Sgt. James "OJ" Alvarado, who passed away on June 1. He is survived by his wife Traci, daughter Codi, an unborn son Abel, and his parents Ignacio "Nacho" (vice commander of the Windsor American Legion) and Lori Alvarado of Windsor. The poker run started in Garden City and ended in Windsor. I attended the event. Bikes lined the street outside of the legion as the bikers, friends and family showed support. It was a huge success.

The Northern Colorado chapter of Honor Flight was formed in 2008 and serves Larimer and Weld counties, as well as Albany County in Wyoming. The mission of the Honor Flight network is to honor and fly World War II vets to Washington, D.C., to visit a memorial that was completed in 2005. Included in the flights are terminally ill vets, Purple Heart recipients from any conflict, Korean War vets, and Vietnam War vets.

Honor Flight provides "guardians" who are volunteers, who pay their own way and personally escort the veterans on the aircraft and during their stay in Washington. Honor Flight's next flight is scheduled for Sept 14-15. For information on the Northern Colorado Honor Flight, go to http://www.honorflightnortherncolorado.org.

Another organization that gives back is the Wounded Warrior Project. The project is a non-profit organization with a mission to honor and empower wounded warriors by offering a wide range of events and programs in Colorado, including respite programs through weekend retreats, year round sports and fitness programs designed to help warriors to regain confidence as they adjust to life after injury and other ongoing needs of service injured members. Our Colorado chapter is located in Colorado Springs and can be contacted by phone at (719) 377-9491.

This weekend while I was shopping at King Soopers in Windsor, I noticed a red, white and blue booth off to the side.

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I stopped and was introduced to April Treloar and Janna Schaefer, both of whom who are involved with the Blue Star Mothers of America and the Gold Star Mothers of America. The Gold Star Mothers of America was established shortly after World War I and is composed of mothers who have lost a son or daughter while serving active duty. The Blue Star Mothers of America is composed of mothers and stepmothers who have a son or daughter currently serving or honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States.

Both women were collecting donations and selling raffle tickets for the Colorado Gold Star Poker Run to honor our fallen Colorado Military on July 26 at the Hideout Patio Bar and Grill in Fort Collins. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the Gold Star Parent Weekend. Every year, the Blue Star Mothers of Colorado sponsor a weekend of support for Gold Star Parents to honor true heroes. In 2013, 28 new families were sponsored for the weekend. April established the first Gold Star Memorial Run in Fort Collins in 2013. Janna organized the Blue Star Mothers of Durango (Chapter 1) in 2003 after she lost her husband in Desert Storm in 1993.

To donate to the Gold Star Weekend go to http://www.coloradogoldstarparentsweekend.com.

Our community produces the many volunteers that volunteer for organizations that provide services to those in need. Many volunteer because of their belief and passion for the cause. What better cause than our military? Thank you, April and Janna, for your volunteerism.

Let me know what you think, or ask me a question by e-mailing me at squiggylpc@hotmail.com. Until next time, light and blessings to you.

Sandi Squicquero is a licensed professional counselor in Windsor who has more than 20 years experience in the counseling field.

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