A show of appreciation for our veterans | PostIndependent.com

A show of appreciation for our veterans

Heidi Rice
Rifle Correspondent
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Darcy Copeland snappedya.comAmerican Legion and Auxiliary members pose in front of the American Veterans Memorial at Highway 13 and 30th Street north of Rifle. Auxiliary members (Post 78) pictured on left; from left to right are: Jo Diaz, Michelle Valdez, June Renfro, Connie Hollenbeck and JoAnne Quade. Legion members (Kelly Hansen Post 78) pictured from right to left are: John Scalzo, Betty Clifford, Ted Diaz, Dean Wells, Ralph Koehler and Roger Jarboe.

RIFLE, Colorado ” For years, longtime Rifle resident John Scalzo has been trying to upgrade the Veteran’s Memorial at Deerfield Park in north Rifle. The American Legion Kelly Hansen Post 78 in Rifle is now nearing the goal to raise $40,000 to expand the memorial site and install new stones with the names of local veterans.

Post 78 began the project last fall. Scalzo and other members of the Post, including John Getty, Ralph Koehler, April McLearn and Dean Wells, have been busy trying to raise funds and get the community to submit names from veterans who have served from the area between New Castle and Parachute.

Right now, the donations go toward purchasing the granite stones and the names can be submitted free of charge. After the memorial is completed this fall, there will be a $50 charge to add a veteran’s name. Post 78 has so far raised more than $22,000 and has funds that other agencies have promised to contribute that would put them close to their goal.

“We’ve got promises, but so far they’re just promises,” Scalzo said. “If you put all the promises together we’d have about $33,000. But I’m from the old school ” show me the money.”

Sources that have promised money toward the Veteran’s Memorial in Rifle include Garfield County, the city of Rifle, the local Elks Lodge and the city’s tourism board.

But Scalzo, a former mayor of the city of Rifle in the early 1970’s, says that one way or another ” even if he has to dig into his own pocket ” the memorial is going to be erected by Veteran’s Day on November 11. 2009. And he is adamant about that.

“The donations are for buying the stones,” Scalzo said. “We’re not asking for the donation to put the name on the stone ” we’re asking for money to buy the stone. But we’ll have to charge to add names to the stone at the end of July.”

Right now, the Rifle American Legion Post 78 is still looking for donations and names to put on each of the four stones that will eventually be placed at the memorial located at 30th Street and Highway 13 in north Rifle.

Names are needed from both the Re-2 and District 16 school districts from the Civil War to the present and including both the living and the dead, along with anyone who has moved to the area and made the community their home.

“Right now, we have more than 1,500 names, but that’s not enough for the four stones we want to get,” Scalzo said.

Those from this area will have a star next to their name, indicating that they are a local veteran.

“As long as you made this area your home the star will indicate that you went into the service from this area,” Scalzo said.

Tax-deductible donations for the memorial wall can be sent to the American Legion Post 78, 200 W. 20th Street, Space A55, Rifle, CO 81650.

For more information about submitting names or making a donation to the Rifle Veteran’s Memorial, contact Scalzo at 625-1842 or John Getty at 625-4389 or e-mail to johnbscalzo@comcast.net or jagetty@msn.com.

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