High Country troop parade planned
By Christine Dell’AmoreGlenwood Correspondent
Thousands of yellow ribbons will blanket the country between Rifle and Glenwood Springs today to honor U.S. troops abroad.”It’s important for soldiers to know that they’re appreciated, and it’s important for the community to know that the soldiers appreciate them,” said Becky Tengel, a specialist for HHC, Fourth Aviation Brigade, Fourth Infantry Division, who returned from Iraq in March. Her aunt, Donna Fell, a Realtor in Glenwood Springs, wanted to organize an event to show appreciation for Tengel’s and other soldiers’ contributions abroad. Tengel will lead a convoy of community members, decorated in vibrant yellows, from the Glen Valley Care Center to the Rifle Veterans Home. The convoy will finish its journey at the Hotel Colorado for a celebration of the hotel’s 111th birthday and to honor troops working overseas.
“It’s nothing political – it’s simply honoring our soldiers everywhere. We are doing that vicariously through Becky,” Fell said. Organizers are also planning to invite veterans and other soldiers to the event. When Valerie Keith, director of catering at Hotel Colorado, heard of Fell’s plan to have a luncheon at the hotel, she thought the hotel’s history as a veterans hospital provided an ideal fit for a combination birthday and salute-to-the-troops event.The free luncheon will include various local musicians and entertainment, as well as a short speech from Tengel, which she said will be a verbal “thank-you note” to all the people who have supported the soldiers. Tengel will return to Iraq in October. The Hotel Colorado, which opened its doors in 1893, annually holds a birthday celebration. Members of the armed forces used the hotel from 1943 to 1946 as a place to recuperate from injuries during World War II.
“I expect an incredible response from the community by working together and honoring our troops,” Keith said.Residents can also participate by decorating their homes with yellow ribbons. The home with the most patriotic display will receive a one-night stay for two in the Bell Tower suite of the Hotel Colorado, Fell said.”This community rises to the occasion every single time. That’s what makes this place unique,” she said.