AVTT WALL
2015 Accolades & Testimonials

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sammydavis-120The salute to American veterans Rally was so very inspiring ... The America we love does still exist!

Thanks to all who made this worthy event Happen.

Sammy L Davis
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam Veteran - US Army

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BillMcPThe 2015 Salute to American Veterans Rally was an outstanding success. Jim and Pam Wear and staff continue, on an annual basis, to produce the "Premier Patriotic Event in Colorado". Whether you are an Active Duty service person, a Veteran or a civilian, when you attend this event you will be filled with Patriotism and Pride in this great Country. You will have an opportunity to view an outstanding Parade and attend a very solemn Ceremony. Hear stories of heroism and see some of our Country's Hero's in person. There are several thousand Veterans in attendance at this annual event, some for the first time and several that have been in attendance many times.

I have been in attendance for the past 12 years and plan on attending as long as I am able. What makes this event so very special is that Veterans from all Wars can come together with Comrades and Buddies in common fellowship. For Vietnam veterans, especially, the ceremony and fellowship has become the "Welcome Home" that we never received upon return from that "Horrific War". Most, if not all Vietnam Combat Veterans suffer from some degree of PTSD. Even though PTSD will never be completely cured, it is events like the Salute to American Veterans Rally that helps us to deal with the effects of it.

I encourage all true Americans to attend this event, held annually in Cripple Creek.

My sincere "Thank You" to the organizers for their Love and Dedication to "America" and the "Veterans" that fought for our Freedom!

Bill McPherson
COL, USA (Ret)
Historic Vietnam Helicopter, Inc.
(The Gunship Ministry)

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Mr. Jim Wear and staff at ProPromotions

I have never been so honored in my life as I was during the 2015 Salute to American Veterans event to be in the presence of so many great Americans. 101 year old Pearl Harbor survivor, James Downing, wow! Will never forget his words “weakness leads to aggression!”

I will also never forget escorting Medal of Honor awardee, Sammy L Davis down the street when a young soldier from Ft. Carson stopped dead in his tracks, snapped to attention and saluted Sammy. The young soldier pulled me aside and said “I have never met a Medal of Honor awardee, do you know how special that is!” His excitement could hardly be contained. “I came up here on a whim, I heard about the Honor Ride and just did it for something to do and a place to ride. I am so glad I did this now, I did not know what to expect.” I was so proud of him and had never met him in my life. His excitement showed in the picture I took of him and Sammy together with his phone. I am sure that picture is his most prized possession and is being shown to all of his friends back at base. I hope it causes them to show up at this event next year, which brings me to my next point.

To all my veteran friends, there is zero reason for not attending this event, it is for you! To all my biker friends, there is not a ride, an event or parade as prestigious and rewarding as this event. To all my non- veteran and non-biker friends, you need to make plans to attend and support this event! You will leave feeling better about America and most importantly you will leave feeling better about yourself as an American!

Cole Deister
North Business Unit Manager
Wood Group, Elkhorn Holdings Inc.
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I seldom comment on events, but the 2015 Veterans Rally I recently attended is one that needs mentioning. This was my first experience at the Veterans Rally in Cripple Creek and may I begin by saying, it will forever be engrained in my mind and heart. In entering Teller County you could feel the pride & respect for our Veterans. Along the road-side the American Flag, POW-MIA flag and various military unit flags were proudly displayed on trucks and trailer beds welcoming our amazing Veterans.

I felt my tears well-up as we entered Cripple Creek with a huge American flag that was posted on ladders between two fire trucks. The ceremony in commemoration of our veterans was done in such a respectful manner and with such grace and honor, I will never forget this beautiful tribute to our Veterans. It was such a welcoming atmosphere for all those in attendance. Hats off to the organizers of this event, Cripple Creek community, Pro Promotions, Jim Wear for the many hours I can only imagine went into this special tribute. I cannot wait for next years event. Thank you again!

Melody Figueroa
Pueblo West, CO

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RollingThunder-logoI want to thank you for allowing Rolling Thunder CO 1 to be a part of your program and we feel privileged and honored to perform the Missing Man Table Ceremony in the midst of all those honored guests and veterans. I proudly submit the following…

What an HONOR and Privilege it was to be a part of this year's Salute To American Veterans Event. Rolling Thunder Chapter 1 has been attending this event since 2004 and it seems as though Jim and Pam's hard work and dedication to honor those who serve consistently tops the previous year. Jim, you have a great presence in the Colorado Military and Veteran community and you are highly respected for the services you provide and programs you support. I salute you! Congratulations Jim & Pam for knocking it out of the park again. We are already planning for next year's event in Cripple Creek.

We will see you in Colorado Springs.

Best regards,

Mike Messenger
President
Rolling Thunder Chapter 1 CO

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Downing-150FROM THE HEART AND MIND OF JIM DOWNING 102 YEAR OLD PEARL HARBOR ATTACK SURVIVOR

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in THE SALUTE TO AMERICAN VETERANS festivities in Cripple Creek. It was an honor to be with Mayor Brown, you, and the team which assisted you.

Your genius in planning and executing the activities was magnificent.

At the close of World War II, I led a company of U.S. Navy men in a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. honoring Admiral Chester Nimitz. His citation by the president included the phrase, “YOUR PERFORMANCE LEFT NOTHING TO BE DESIRED.”

The same thing can be said about you and the team you led, YOU LEFT NOTHING TO BE DESIRED.

Thank you very much,

Jim Downing LT USN (RET.)

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USMCLet me start off by saying there is absolutely no way I could ever repay you for what you have done for me. I have been a participant in the Veterans Rally held in Cripple Creek since 2005, and this year, as with each year, surpasses the year before.

This year I rode the POW / MIA memorial ride up front, cradled within the two color guards. This experience was breath taking and amazing. To be riding and seeing a sea of flags fluttering in the breeze as they were being pulled by motorcycles. I know this does not sound like a big thing but as you are riding and you remember why you are riding, as you are knowing these flags represent America, and every single veteran past, present and for those who will take up the task in the future.  I am still speechless as I look at my pictures.

I would also like to thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the Cripple Creek ceremony. I can not express in mere words how honored I was to be in the company of one of the oldest survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, James Downing and Sammy L. Davis an incredible veteran and Medal of Honor recipient. It was so great to meet these men, talk to them, listen to their stories of heroism. To be surrounded the entire day by these veterans as well as the thousands of veterans the entire day was incredible. I get goose bumps each and every year going to this event, and this year was no different.

You also afforded me the opportunity to be part of an event that will live in my heart and soul for all eternity. As I sit here typing this I am shaking and the hairs on my arms are on end. Being a part of the ceremony that allowed me to say good bye to my brothers will forever be engrained in me. The only two days in my life that I felt more honored was the day I helped bring my daughter into this world and the day I earned the title of United States Marine. As I stood there performing the "tolling of the bells" for the 5 fallen veterans of TN, I wept. It was a hard thing to do, and saying goodbye always is.

In the 10 years I have been attending this event - I can honestly say each year tops the year before, but this year topped all 9 previous ones combined. It brings pride and happiness to my heart to see so many Veterans united each and every year, to honor those that passed and to honor those that served. This event is one of the greatest events of all time, and I look forward to it each and every year. I am already looking forward to the next one. Thank you for hosting such a prestigious event.

Respectfully Submitted,
David M. Kostyk GySgt USMC (Ret)

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Just a short note to say what an unbelievable experience I had at the “Salute to the American Veterans Rally” this past weekend in Cripple Creek. I have attended this rally for many years, dating back to 2003, have welcomed the procession into Cripple Creek on several occasions, including the 29 minute procession this year, but I had never been to the ceremony honoring those that gave all. The two hours spent listening to the speakers, including a Pearl Harbor survivor and a Medal of Honor recipient was very humbling. To hear the story behind the “missing man” table was very enlightening and informative.

This rally is one of my favorite events every year, I always look forward to it. Every time I go to Cripple Creek and make that turn onto the POW / MIA Memorial Highway it brings a smile to my face with a tremendous sense of THANKS for those that gave all, or never came home, allowing us all those freedoms.

Thank you for all that you do, and I will make sure to bring along even more observers to the ceremony next year.

Respectfully,
Joe McCreary
Diamond Express Transportation

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On behalf of me and the support of my brothers and sisters of the Warrant Officer Corps, I present to you a small token of gratitude and appreciation for your commitment and excellence towards this event. I was able to talk and shake hands with two humble yet prestigious veterans of our Country during a time of need and enduring so much. I also enjoyed every aspect of the venues and displays that was available to include the parade and what culminated into the Veterans Rally ride-in and ceremony in the park. Thank you for what you have, and will continue to contribute in keeping this tradition alive.
CC15-4th-Infantry-190

This coin represents all of the specialties the Warrant Officers Corps contributes to the daily operations of the 4th Infantry Division. The Eagle Rising in the center denotes the tradition of Warrant Officers since 1918, and in 2004 we transitioned to the Officer Branch insignias which surrounds it.

Humbly submitted,
Marvin R. Palmer
CW3, FA (Ret.)

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Laydon-120Inspiring, heartfelt, patriotic & educational are few words that come to mind when I think of the Salute to American Veterans Rally.

Listening to the guest speakers, watching the crowd reactions to their words reinforced to me how great a nation we live in.

After this event there was no doubt in my mind the level of love of country our Veterans truly feel.

My only wish is that we could somehow capture the events emotion and theme and hand it over to youth of America so that can see all the hard work and sacrifices that were made to build this country to where it is today.

Emotional roll coaster, my pride ran deep as I walked through the streets of Cripple Creek, talking to our veterans...young and old, men and women. This is an event that I will make a point to attend again.

Lt. Colonel David R. Laydon
Commander, Warrior Transition Battalion
Fort Cason, Colorado

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DevilDogsTo the Devil Dogs MC, The Veterans Rally held in Cripple Creek each year, is THE greatest run we ever do. We have attended the rally for years and plan to continue to do so from now on. We have a lot of Marines that deal with PTSD and depression and they battle demons on a daily basis over the time they served. This is their opportunity to see first hand that their battles were not done in vain. It gives us an opportunity to meet others that have the same issues and allows us to see that we ARE appreciated.

The dedication and work you put into this event is phenomenal! Every detail is perfected and there is never any issues. We are allowed to enjoy ourselves completely without any worries.

We are honored to surround ourselves with other service members and unite for the short time we are there each year.

Thank you for all you do and always going above and beyond!

Semper Fi,
Redneck
State President
Devil Dogs MC

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It’s difficult to express the many emotions that assailed me regarding the 2015 Salute American Veterans Rally. To say that it was overwhelming is an understatement. In the past, my participation was being one of the extremely large group of motorcycle riders that support all veterans. That in itself is emotional. To see the hundreds and hundreds of people lining the streets with flags and waving made me very proud to be an American.

This year, however, I was in a different role as supporter of two of the honored speakers, Jim Deister, my brother-in-law and recipient of the Purple Heart and new friend, Sam Davis, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. As I listened to the many stories of all of the other veterans it really brought home the impact of exactly what they and their families have given for our country. At totally unexpected times I was overwhelmed with emotion and would have tears streaming down my face. The Lakota Indian dancers tribute was very powerful and truly did remind me that if they can overcome the past wrongs that were done to them and come together then we, as all Americans should be able to do the same.

The events and vendors that were coordinated by Jim Wear and his staff at Pro Promotions for the public were great too!

This is an event that I am proud to say that I was a part of and will have no hesitation in the future in participating and recommending to others.

Niccole Deister

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Well you did it again! This year was even better than last year if that is even possible.

Thank you for the plaque honoring the Bataan Death March survivors and the stone in memory of Les Stroup and the other EX-POW’s. Both Pat and I have deceased spouses that were prisoners of the Japanese. The plaque will help remind others of the terrible conditions imposed on the men that were taken captive in the Philippine Islands.

Having Jim Downing speak and the words that he used were very inspiring both to us and the veterans hearing him. His voice sounds like a much younger man and his words resonated with all.

It was a very special weekend for us and all veterans. I know they appreciate your efforts in setting this all up as they keep coming back each year. Jim, your speech at the end was something that needed to be said you did it so well - as usual.

Thanks - Thanks - Thanks.

Love,
Ruth Sheaves & Pat Thompson

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The 2015 Salute to American Veterans Rally and Festival once again proved to be a well-organized event that paid a well-deserved tribute to our military veterans.

My wife and I have been attending the Veterans Rally since 2010, but 2015 was the first year we were more personally involved with the activities.  In prior years, we attended and appreciated the event from a spectator’s viewpoint, but 2015 was the first year we took an active role working with Jim and Pam Wear, and the others who work so hard to ensure that the annual event is a success.

It is impossible to say which event, presentation or speech moved us the most, but one particular conversation with a Vietnam Veteran summed up why the Veterans Rally is so important.  After striking up a conversation with the veteran, we were saying our good-byes, and in parting, my wife thanked the veteran for his service to our county, and his reply was, “You’re worth it.”

That humble response from someone who was willing to risk his life for us says it all.  The Rally is one small way we let our veterans and their families know just how much their service and sacrifices are appreciated, and to let them know they are worth it as well.CCC

Respectfully,

Ray and Beth DuBois
City Administrator
City of Cripple Creek

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