AVTT WALL
2013 Accolades & Testimonials

Maddi-300I have had the distinct pleasure to be a part of the 20th and 21st Salute to Veterans Rallies. I can tell you that I have never participated in a greater Patriotic event that recognizes our Nations Veterans.  The Rally and its supporters epitomize the best in our Country, and quite frankly this type of heartfelt Patriotism is the reason why many of us choose to defend our Country and its way of life. 

On a personal note I had the opportunity of my career in recognizing one of our Nations true National Treasures Ranger Lowell Freeman. This is a veteran that came before us today and fought bravely against the Nazi Regime during World War II. As a young Soldier I had the opportunity to take part in many parades honoring the Rangers of World War II. Since many of our WWII Veterans have passed on I never imagined that I would be able to personally recognize my predecessors. On August 17th I was afforded that opportunity and as I stated it was the highlight of my career. As the Ranger motto states Ranger Lowell Freeman “led the way” for me and I was humbled to recognize him.

Events like the Cripple Creek Salute to Veterans Rally must continue so the younger generations of our communities will understand what true Patriotism is.

“Rangers Lead The Way!”

Doug Maddi
CSM, USA
3rd ABCT, 4th Infantry Division

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What a fantastic event in honor of those who gave so much! As the grandson of a WW1 vet and a WW2 vet, and the son-in-law of a D-day and Korea vet, I was proud to see their memories honored with such grace and reverence. It was also quite humbling to stand in the presence of those POW’s who were at the rally. They are a testament to the American spirit and make me that much more proud to be an American.

Thank you to the organizers of the event for so adeptly balancing solemnity with celebration. You honored our active troops. You honored our vets. You honored our POW/MIAs. And you honored our country. Thank you so much. I can’t wait for next year.

State Senator Kevin Grantham
Colorado Senate District 2

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As a spouse I have been invited to many events similar to the veterans rally. I must say last years event 2012 (my first) took my breath away. I didn’t think that you could make me cry two years in a row. This years event was absolutely amazing. The tears that i shed were tears of amazement. I was amazed at the ceremony when almost everyone in cripple creek stopped what they were doing and surrounded the park to hear stories of our pow’s. I heard you and Stu tell the story to doug about msg Lowell Freeman at Territory Days but it wasn’t until he was sitting on the stage and his story was being told by you that again i was crying.

I firmly believe that your event is the premier veterans event in the country. What better place to hold such a momentous event than cripple creek. It is absolutly beautiful there and the residents are so nice. I was honored to be a party to the occasion of having the POW’s cut the ribbon for the pow/mia Highway.

Thank you again Jim, Pam, Stu and Pro Promotions for inviting me to such a wonderful event. Even when we pcs I forsee Doug and I coming back just for the rally.

V/R

Jenny Maddi 
Spouse of 3rd Brigade Soldier
IRON STRONG

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I was very impressed with your event.   I’ve never seen an event so completely veteran oriented.  Thank you very much for recognizing the Colorado Department of The American Legion and Post 1980 in Woodland Park.  True, we worked very hard to get Colorado highway 67 designated as the POW/MIA Memorial Highway, but, just seeing the signs finally on the highway was thanks enough for me.

Chuck Gardner
Commander
The American Legion’s
Eric V. Dickson Post 1980
Woodland Park, Co

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Dear Jim & the Rally Committee,

Every year I say the same thing “This program was the best ever!”  How do you do it year after year and it does get better each year!

Pat Thompson and I enjoyed going to Cripple Creek C Friday night and missing the heavy traffic.  

I don’t know if you knew that Pat lost her house in the Waldo fire.  She has been so busy with everything and the weekend did her so much good.  She will be moving in her new home on 12 Sept and can hardly wait.

We enjoyed the dinner with the ‘City Fathers’ very much.  We all felt so special and everyone seemed to have a very good time.  Thanks!

You both have given so much time and effort in developing this event that has become a major celebration for veterans and especially the POWs/MIAs.  This celebration is not only good for veterans for is good for our entire country.

Thank you VERY MUCH.

Love & Thanks,

Ruth Sheaves & Pat Thompson
Widows of American EX-POW’s

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“Now that the dust has settled and you have had time to relax a bit, I wanted to say thank you to you and Pam and all of your staff at Pro for another job well done with the Vet’s Rally. I don’t know of another event anywhere that exists purely to honor and recognize our veterans, not like you do. It is a great thing you do Jim and I hope this event continues to grow and live on. In a time when it seems our country has lost it’s way and is struggling with it’s heritage and identity, you continue to remind us all what these men and women sacrificed to protect. Our liberty and freedom as well as the freedom and liberation of countless millions around the world. There is no other warrior more selfless and dedicated than the American soldier and their sacrifices should never be forgotten. Your dedication to this effort and this rally ensure that no matter what our nation is going through, our veterans, our heroes, will get the recognition, respect and honor they rightfully deserve. Semper Fi my friend and thank you again!”

Chuck Botkin - USMC

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The Salute to American Veterans Rally in Cripple Creek 2013, was not what I expected as a first-time attendee.  It was much better that I had imagined! I was there as an honored guest for our work on the legislation to name Highway 67 the POW/MIA Highway, between Woodland Park and Cripple Creek. The entire community seemed to have come out to celebrate the new highway name, and to honor, salute, and support veterans and their families.  Yes, there are 5,000 or so motorcycles, riders and a community parade, but that is just part of the overall event organized to honor veterans and their service, and even more importantly their continued serviced to community, state and nation.  The event is very well organized, people flow freely throughout the town which is full of vendors, spectators, organizers, parade participants, and others.  Yet, everyone is made to feel welcome and the atmosphere is friendly and relaxing.  The only thing that could make it better is more participation by state-wide veterans service organizations.  Leadership from these organizations could participate in the parade and the many activities going on throughout the day.

Ralph Bozella
Past President, United Veterans Committee of Colorado

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I can honestly say in my 28-year military career, I have not attended a ceremony better than Saturday’s POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony.  How could a ceremony top yours where I had the privilege to meet and recognize three former POWs and hear the gallant and heroic efforts of MSGT Lowell Freeman during WWII? 

Additionally, the Memorial Plaque dedication and POW-MIA Memorial Highway dedication topped off the ceremony and I am sincerely humbled and honored to be a guest among the heroes and dignitaries attending the event. 

On behalf of Rolling Thunder CO Chapter 1, I want to personally thank you for inviting us to perform the Missing Man Table ceremony.  This ceremony allowed us to help educate the public of our missing in action and I was proud but humbled when numerous veterans stopped by to thank us for performing this special ceremony. 

Thank you for giving us an outstanding weekend by providing us a safe, relaxing, and fun environment allowing veterans, their families, and supportive citizens to come together and recognize our true American heroes: the men and women who have served this great country.  I personally salute you Jim for a job well done and am looking forward already to next year’s events.

Respectfully,

Timothy J. Martin, Maj, USAF
Chief, TFSC-Denver Contact Center
Buckley AFB CO
President, Rolling Thunder CO Chapter 1
Denver, CO

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What a great day in Cripple Creek. I went to the Tribute to our POW/MIA armed forces and the ribbon cutting ceremony for the POW/MIA Highway. I don’t tear up in public often, but my heart was touched with this ceremony. I was in the presence of men and women that I could only dream to emulate. The gun salute and Taps finally did me in! God Bless our Veteran’s.

Bill Stankiewicz
US Army 1st. Sgt. Retired

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What a phenomenal weekend!  This was the 3rd year I had the privilege of attending and am thankful to have been a part of making history with the dedication to the POW/MIA Memorial Highway.

It was wonderful to have been surrounded with all sorts of vets and their families throughout the weekend.  The Salute to American Veterans Rally gives us all an opportunity to fellowship and thank those that have given so much in a festive and patriotic atmosphere.

Thank you again for you/your team’s hard work & detailed planning that resulted in a successful Rally.  Can’t wait until next year!

Mary Kasales
Army Wife

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The annual Tribute to Veterans captures the essence of honoring what it means to serve sacrificially, paying a wonderful tribute to all those who have given so much in service to our country!  It also inspires and gives opportunity to those who receive the benefits of that sacrifice to gratefully extend their thanks. From the rolling thunder of several thousand motorcycles riding to honor the service of all veterans of the US Armed Forces, to the dedication ceremony for the newly designated Colorado POW-MIA Memorial Highway between Divide and Cripple Creek Colorado which recognizes those who have suffered in foreign military prisons, to the Pikes Peak Memorial Wall dedication honoring our fallen, each event this year stirred the thousands in attendance to greater heights of pride to be an American.  Teller County is deeply honored and privileged to serve each year as the venue for honoring our veterans.

Norm Steen
Teller County Commissioner
Brigadier General, USA, (retired)

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Thank you for the invitation to participate in the “Salute to American Veterans, Pow/Mia Ceremony at Cripple Creek. You did a fantastic job of organizing a very complex event.

The attention to our wwII pow’s  expressed a very sincere appreciation for their service. The pow/mia ceremony also added to our “sacred obligation” to ensure that our pow and mia’s are not forgotten!

Frank McCurdy,   
Retired LTCOL USAFR
National Executive Committeeman
American Legion

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"I want to thank you for all you do in support of our active duty military and veterans. I myself have never served, but my father served for 23 years in the US Army, fought in Vietnam with D Troop 1/9 Cav in '67-'68 and retired as a 1SG. He attended the salute to American veterans rally every year for many years, from Cripple Creek to Winter Park and back to Cripple Creek. I can tell you that he was so grateful for all of your efforts. This most recent rally was my fifth, and I will be going from now on. I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with and thank the many veterans and active duty military members that I talked with. My father passed away May 17, 2012, but I can tell you that he looked forward to the Rally every year. Again, Thank You for all you do for our military and veterans."

Glenn Gagnon

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What a fantastic event!

When the American Legion passed the resolution  to name the portion of Hwy 67 from Divide to Cripple Creek the POW/MIA Memorial Highway at their State Convention in 2012, it was because of your Annual Recognition Ride. We didn’t known if it would pass the Sate Senate, but with the help of our State Legislatures it became reality.

You and the Veterans Rally Committee then took it and created the most memorable Dedication in Honor of our POW’s & MIA’s ever! The Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony by 3 Ex-Pow’s and their stories were unforgettable. You showed your Respect, Honor and professionalisms thru this Dedication.

In your own words “The Highway Sign’s will be in place in perpetuity, long after we are gone from this earth.”

It was my Honor to participate in the Official Dedication of the POW/MIA Memorial Highway and the 26 Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony.

Thank you for all that you do.

Ed Wearing
POW/MIA Committee Chairman
American Legion Dept. of Colorado

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Kary and I would like to thank you and the town of Cripple Creek for inviting us to participate in the Salute to American Veterans Rally & the Memorial Wall Dedication Ceremony.

I was deeply honored and grateful to have been given the opportunity to represent the Ft. Carson Warrior Transition Battalion and Ft. Carson.  It was a true privilege to speak during this fantastic tribute for our POWs, Service Members, Veterans and our fallen.

I was humbled to stand among the honored elite, our POWs, and among such a distinguished gathering of veterans - all who have sacrificed so much in the service of our nation.

Kary and I were touched by the intimate and dignified service that was held at the Memorial Wall.  I can’t say thank you enough for doing this for our fallen and their families.

As I said that day - it matters as a nation and a community that we cherish and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice but it is even more important that we embrace and support the families of the fallen who must endure their loss and continue living.  We had the opportunity to meet with two Gold Star families who we intend to keep in touch with and fold the into the events of the Warrior Transition Battalion.

Cripple Creek did such a wonderful job in hosting this very honorable event, making so enjoyable for all, and making all who participated feel so welcome. Kary and I will definitely be back next year.

Aaron M. Termain
LTC, MS US Army
Commander,  Warrior Transition Battalion
Fort Carson, CO

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Once again the City of Cripple Creek, Colorado, Pro-Promotions, and all the folks in support have done an exceptional job in honoring our Nations Veterans during the 2013 Salute to American Veterans Rally.  Having missed last year’s Rally due to a deployment to Afghanistan, it was great to be back this year.  With great weather, outstanding activities and events, awesome music, and surrounded by tens of thousands of riders / vets, you could not ask for a better way to spend your weekend.

Making this year’s gathering even more special was the dedication and ribbon-cutting for the POW-MIA Memorial Highway, the recognition given to our Nation’s heroes from past wars, and the return of the Vietnam Veterans Travelling Wall. Whether a veteran or not, you could not help being moved by this honorable and patriotic event… one that every American must experience!

Looking forward to another outstanding Rally in 2014.

Colonel Michael Kasales
U.S. Army

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The Salute to American Veterans Rally is a superb event. I saw so much healing happening with veterans. I met and hugged many more. This event definitely is a wonderful event that should continue for years. SPECIAL THANKS to everyone that made this happen.

Carol Kennedy,
The Am. Legion Colorado Commander.

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I cannot thank The Salute to American Veterans Rally Committee enough for a fitting tribute to our Veterans; past, present, and future, during this year’s Veteran’s Rally in Cripple Creek. The outpouring of support, camaraderie and fellowship between current Active Duty Military, Retirees, Veterans, bikers and friends was enough to move me to tears on more than one occasion. After 30 plus years in uniform myself, I am honored to have been a part of it and thrilled to see the out pouring support of all that attended. Jim and Pam Wear of Pro Promotions – You are to be commended for the effort you put forth to show appreciation and thanks to our American Veterans and POW-MIA!

Terrance D. McWilliams
Command Sergeant Major, USA, Retired
Vice President
Military and Veteran Affairs
El Pomar Foundation

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