Glenwood Springs vets center celebrates one year of operation |

Glenwood Springs vets center celebrates one year of operation

Staff report
The Nov. 10 celebration began with a customary Presentation of Colors, honoring all branches of service, presented by Glenwood Springs High School Junior ROTC cadets.

The Western Slope Veterans Coalition (WSVC) celebrated the first anniversary of the Jesse Beckius/Casey Owens Veterans Resource Center with a Nov. 10 community event at the Center in downtown Glenwood Springs.

Janna Owens, Casey Owens’ mother, and John Beckius, Jesse Beckius’ father, were among the dignitaries who gathered to honor veterans and learn about the progress made since the Center’s opening one year ago.

Jeff Cheney, 9th District Attorney, emceed the evening’s program, sharing his perspectives on the military and what he said are our responsibilities as a community to provide ongoing support to our veteran heros.

Glenwood Springs High School Junior ROTC cadets gave the customary Presentation of Colors, honoring all branches of service the day before Veterans Day.

WSVC President and founding board member Charles Hopton noted several accomplishments for the Center, which received more than 350 visitors during the past year and since its inception and provided direct assistance to 150 veterans in need.

“WSVC helps veterans through its emergency fund, which provides assistance for immediate needs, such as rent, transportation, and medicine,” Hopton explained. “As an example, a veteran who had just landed a construction job needed tools for his job. He couldn’t afford them, so WSVC purchased the tools so he could get back into the workforce.

“Veterans want to be productive, and if we can help, we will,” he said.

Hopton also noted that the Center has become an important focal point for connectivity between veterans and the community to share ideas, experiences and hopes. Alpine Bank was the first community business to partner with WSVC and sponsors weekly meetings.

WSVC [] is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations, grants and community supporters to maintain the Center and provide services to veterans in need.

Garfield County Commissioner John Martin was instrumental in locating Garfield County office space to serve as the Jesse Beckius/Casey Owens Veterans Resource Center. The Center, located on Colorado Avenue near the county administration building, shares office space with the Garfield County Veterans Service Officer.

Parents of the late Jesse Beckius and Casey Owens reiterated the need for centers and resources that provide support services for veterans. At the Nov. 10 event, they thanked WSVC and the community for honoring their sons, both of whom committed suicide after returning home from active duty.

Doyle Cooper, lead education volunteer, Center for American Values in Pueblo, provided the keynote. He explained his role as a veteran and educator who travels the country providing talks that focus on honor, integrity and patriotism.

The program also honored the 243rd birthday of the Marine Corps. Col. Dick Merritt addressed guests and led the traditional cutting of the birthday cake with a sword, and the passing of the first piece from the oldest to the youngest Marine in the room.

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