Annual Ride in Remembrance honors Eagle County’s fallen first responders | VailDaily.com
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Annual Ride in Remembrance honors Eagle County’s fallen first responders

First responders, supporters turn out on a rainy morning

The colors are presented Wednesday at Donovan Pavilion in Vail during the annual Ride in Remembrance. The event honors the first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty in Eagle County.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily
The fallen
  • Oscar William Meyer, Eagle County Sheriff’s Deputy. End of watch: Nov. 2, 1936.
  • John Fletcher Clark, Eagle County Sheriff’s Deputy. End of watch: July 12, 1961.
  • Cruz Carbajal, Gypsum firefighter. End of watch Jan. 4, 1993.
  • Ryan Jay Cunningham, Vail Police officer. End of watch: May 6, 2001.
  • Tim Benway, air ambulance pilot. End of watch: Jan. 11, 2005.
  • Jaimie Jursevics, Colorado State Patrol Trooper. End of watch: Nov. 15, 2015.
  • Eric Dean Hill, Colorado Department of Transportation, longtime local firefighter. End of watch, March 16, 2019.

Eagle County first responders gathered Wednesday morning for the annual Ride in Remembrance, an opportunity to honor colleagues who have died in the line of duty.

The ride — mostly emergency vehicles along with a few folks in private cars and seven hardy motorcyclists, along with two passengers — left Edwards in light rain. The rain persisted as the caravan made its way up U.S. Highway 6, merged onto Interstate 70 at EagleVail, then made its way into Vail and Donovan Pavilion.

There, first responders from local fire, ambulance and police agencies shared handshakes and hugs. Those who rode motorcycles in the rain said the ride was an honor.



Roses were laid at the beginning of the Ride in Remembrance event Wednesday at Freedom Park in Edwards. The ride started in Edwards and finished in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Lee Walker and his wife, Debbie, left Breckenridge early Wednesday to support longtime Vail police officer Bill Clausen, who also rode in the procession.

“It’s good to be part of this,” Williams said.

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Dan Holtkamp and his wife, Sheika Gramshammer, join the ride every year, including the days when there’s been snow on the ground in Vail.

Holtkamp and Gramshammer join in to honor first responders, he said.

People pause for a prayer Wednesday during the annual Ride in Remembrance Wednesday in Vail. It was the 21st year the event has taken place.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“It’s an important part of our community — of all communities,” Gramshammer said.



The ceremony included an address from Eagle Police Chief Derek Bos.

Bos told the group that everyone in attendance understands the risks involved. The work has to continue even in the wake of the loss of a colleague, he said.


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While first responders are “risk takers,” Bos said, the ones who don’t come home didn’t die in vain.

First responders embrace service and sacrifice as a way of life, Bos said, adding “that we are all the beneficiaries” of that ethos.

Names of the first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty in Eagle County are read at the Ride in Remembrance event Wednesday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

But, he added, more first responders every year die by suicide than in the line of duty.

Bos challenged the first responders in the room to find a friend or someone to talk to and take the vow “Not by my own hand.”

Bos cited a verse from the Gospel of John: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” adding that his prayer for his colleagues is that “each one of you stay safe.”

People gather for the start of the Ride in Remembrance event Wednesday at Freedom Park in Edwards.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

The ceremony also included reading the names and “end of watch” dates of Eagle County’s seven first responders who since 1936 have made the ultimate sacrifice, with one ring of a watch bell for each name.

As the group enjoyed lunch grilled by the Vail Public Works Department, there were more handshakes and hugs. This day, the rain had lifted as participants returned to duty. Then the sun shone on a green May day.


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