Thursday, September 15, 2005

Locals attend VFW National Convention

By DANNY TATE

The Veterans of Foreign Wars 106th National Convention was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 20-25.

Five members of Collins-Hurdle VFW Post 5697 were in attendance:

Don Jeanes, post jr. vice commander, and his wife, Susan, legislative officer for the Ladies Auxiliary, from Ashland:

Danny Tate, post quartermaster, and his wife, Linda, Auxiliary secretary treasurer, from Potts Camp:

Sue Clark, sr. vice president, of the Ladies Auxiliary. Ms. Clark was accompanied by her son, Billy and his wife Rose from Potts Camp.

The members drove to Salt Lake City. The Clark family made the trip in Billy’s truck, driving directly to Salt Lake, while Mr. Jeanes and I made the trip by truck and motorcycle, stopping the first night in Rock Port, Mo. Then we drove to Grand Island, Neb., where we off-loaded the motorcycles and began to follow the Pioneer trail NB Hwy 2, stopping to camp in Nebraska National Forest on the banks of the Middle Loup river near Thedford, Neb. Our choice of campsites wasn’t the greatest; it seems a train runs every 20 minutes and sounds its horn at the crossing. The next day we continued westward; our ride took us through Scotts Bluff, Neb., over to Wheatland, Wyo., and to Laramie, Wyo., where we set up camp again. The next day we left the truck in Laramie and rode the bikes south down to Ft. Collins, Colo. to US Hwy 34 west across the Rocky Mountains National Park. During our ride through the park we encountered some rain and sleet. As we crossed the mountains the girls got a little cold as it was about 45 degrees with snow on top. While in the park we saw many deer, elk, antelope and eagles. As you make your way down the west side of the park you can see the many waterfalls made from melting snow. These streams and pools are the headwaters of the mighty Colorado river. As you leave the park it forms three magnificent lakes, the first being Grand Lake at Grand Lake, Colo., then Shadow Lake and Lake Granby, the largest of the three. A dam is all that separates one from the other. The first time you cross the river by road it’s a small stream you could jump across.

That night we stayed in Granby, getting a room for a much needed rest and shower. The next morning it was a good, hot breakfast at the Columbine cafe, where we learned it snowed that night and closed the highway going over the top of the park, then it was west on over toward Steamboat Springs, where we turned north back to Laramie to get the truck and west again to Rock Springs where we took US Hwy 191 S. to Flaming Gorge, Utah, where we camped on the beautiful Flaming Gorge Lake. This is the largest of those formed by the Greene River before it joins the Colorado River south of Moab, Utah in the Canyonlands National Park. It was Greene River, Wyo., where the first party to explore the Grand Canyon launched their expedition. From Flaming Gorge it was on to Salt Lake City, where we all enjoyed a wonderful convention. The highlight was when President George W. Bush addressed the opening joint session of the convention. The President spoke on how we should stay the course on the war in Iraq, pointing out that to quit now before the job is done would be a grave mistake and that those who have died would have died in vain were we to do so. His speech was interrupted numerous times with cheers and standing applause by the 18,000 VFW members in attendance. We attended several workshops on cancer aid and research and a program called Unmet Needs. This program was started by the VFW in 2003 and is supported by Vermont American. The program is set up to help the families here at home whose loved ones are fighting in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are having a hard time meeting the financial needs of the family because the bread winner is away at war. Unmet Needs has kept 67 families from being evicted from their homes because they could not pay the mortgage, and helped sustain the needs of countless others with doctor bills and transportation needs and other needs like prescriptions, eyeglasses, prostheses, diapers, groceries, child care, and the list goes on and on. One of the corporate sponsors is The Home Depot, to name a few. If you are a military family who needs help or someone who would like to make a donation, log on to www.unmetneeds.com or call 1-866-789-6333. There are three links to choose from, Volunteer, Donate or Need Help. One hundred percent of all donations goes to assist military families. After the convention was over, it was load ’em up and head to the house, and we were glad we made it home before the gas prices went sky high.


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