Annual Ride in Remembrance honors those who have died in the line of duty
• Deputy Oscar William Meyer. End of watch: Nov. 2, 1936.
• Deputy John Fletcher Clark: End of watch: July 12, 1961.
• Gypsum firefighter Cruz Carbajal. End of watch: Jan. 4, 1993.
• Vail Police Officer Ryan Jay Cunningham. End of watch, May 6, 2001.
• Air ambulance pilot Tim Benway. End of watch: Jan. 11, 2005.
• Colorado State Patrol officer Jaimie Jursevics. End of watch: Nov. 15, 2015.
EAGLE COUNTY — For the past 17 years, Eagle County’s emergency service agencies have come together in May to honor those who have died in the line of duty.
This year’s Ride in Remembrance on Wednesday, May 23, took a familiar route from Freedom Park in Edwards to Vail’s Donovan Pavilion.
In Edwards, Colorado State Patrol officer Don Kettle recalled that he served with Jaimie Jursevics, a Colorado State Patrol officer who worked for several years in Eagle County.
Jursevics transferred to the area near Castle Rock, where she was struck and killed by a drunken driver in November 2015. Jursevics is remembered as one of Eagle County’s own.
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The line of duty
Kettle said he’d also gone through the State Patrol’s academy with Cody Donohue, another officer who died in the line of duty.
Dean Zimmerman, an emergency room nurse, used to fly with Tim Benway, an air ambulance pilot who was raised in Eagle County. Benway was killed in a crash in Wyoming in 2005.
Zimmerman said he’s known about the event for a number of years, but Wednesday was the first time he’d been able to ride in honor of his friend and the other departed.
Tom Swale brought his motorcycle from Silt. Wednesday was the second time he’d been on the Ride in Remembrance.
“I like to come and pay my respects,” Swale said.
Vail resident Jay Corsetti, who brought his vintage Honda on the ride, said he likes to participate in honor of “the guys who protect us.”
The long motorcade of emergency vehicles, along with a handful of local motorcyclists and classic-car owners, was greeted with waves from cars stopped along the road. Kids from Berry Creek Elementary School cheered and waved American flags as the motorcade passed.
Kids at Vail’s Red Sandstone Elementary School packed the pedestrian overpass above Interstate 70 in Vail, waving and cheering. Those in the motorcade responded with waves of its own, horn-honks and an occasional blast from a siren.
‘Where no one else’
As the motorcade passed under a large American flag hanging from a Vail fire truck, people filed slowly into Donovan Pavilion for prayers, speeches and lunch.
In his remarks, Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek said military, police and emergency services are among the only professions in which leaders send their team members into harm’s way.
That’s something everyone understands, from officers to firefighters to ambulance pilots, van Beek said.
Calling emergency services a “calling,” van Beek said people routinely “swallow their fear … and go places where no one else wants to go.”
The best way to remember the fallen, he added, “is by the way we conduct ourselves. We shall honor (the fallen), by the service we give.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.