Vail Valley’s fallen first responders honored at Ride in Remembrance | VailDaily.com
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Vail Valley’s fallen first responders honored at Ride in Remembrance

‘Our memories keep them alive’

The pictures of fallen Eagle County first responders remind people of the dangers first responders face in the line of duty.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

There’s a difference between remembering and never forgetting. The annual Ride in Remembrance focuses on the memory of local first responders who fell in the line of duty.

A group of Eagle County first responders, military veterans, friends, relatives and others gathered Wednesday for the annual Ride in Remembrance from Freedom Park in Edwards to Donovan Pavilion in Vail.

Longtime local resident Pete Thompson, one of the valley’s many military veterans, was among the motorcyclists sandwiched between a long line of emergency vehicles. Many of those who rode or drove were members of the local branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.



A processional of Eagle County first responders makes its way down U.S. Highway 6 during the annual Ride in Remembrance Wednesday in Edwards. The processional goes from Freedom Park in Edwards to Donovan Pavilion in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

“We’re honored to ride with all these first responders,” Thompson said.

Fellow veteran Jerry Greven added that there’s a connection between military veterans and first responders. The ride helps cement that connection.

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The Ride in Remembrance connection extends more deeply than that.

The annual Ride in Remembrance began at Freedom Park in Edwards Wednesday and made its way to Vail.
Chris/ Dillmann cdillmann@vaildaily.com

“It’s nice we can meet and remember again,” Amber Droegmeier of the Vail Public Safety Communications Center said during her remarks. Those gathered Wednesday remember the impact loss has on coworkers, friends and family, Droegmeier said. But there’s also joy in the memory of those who have fallen, she added.

A processional of Eagle County first responders makes its way down I-70 during the annual Ride in Remembrance Wednesday in Vail. The annual event was put on hold last year due to the pandemic.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

After the ceremony, with the names of the fallen read aloud, followed by the toll of a single bell, people gathered for lunch, with people from the Vail Public Works Department running the grills.

Eagle County Emergency Coordinator Birch Barron also spoke during the ceremony, urging those who know first responders to reach out and ask them how they’re holding up, particularly after an especially strenuous year.

Taps is played to pay homage to the fallen Eagle County first responders during Wednesday’s Ride in Remembrance in Vail.
Chris Dillmann cdillmann@vaildaily.com

Over lunch, Barron noted this was his first Ride in Remembrance. Honoring the sacrifice of the fallen, and honoring their memory, is a great opportunity, he said.

During lunch, Droegmeier said the ride is an opportunity to gather people from different walks of life, to allow those people to share their common grief and share the importance of those who were lost.

In that way, those who were lost remain among us.

“Our memories keep them alive,” Rabbi Joel Newman said during his closing remarks.

The fallen

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 trooper Jaimie Jersevics. End of watch: Nov. 15, 2015.

Colorado Department of Transportation employee and Gypsum firefighter Eric Dean Hill. End of watch: March 16, 2019.


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