Vice President Mike Pence, family, keep a low profile during Vail visit
May 29, 2018
VAIL — Mike Pence and his family flew into the Eagle County Regional Airport on Friday, May 25, for a family friend's wedding at Camp Hale during Memorial Day weekend.
He popped up at a couple of local restaurants, including a visit with members of four Gold Star families — families who have lost a member while he or she was serving in the military — at Minturn's Turntable restaurant, then pleasantly surprised The Vail Church congregation, where he and wife, Karen, attended a service on Sunday.
Associate Rev. Nick Bergquist preached about "The Power of God" for the service.
"No one knew he was coming, not to my knowledge. I would never have known anything, but one woman told me right before I got up," Bergquist said. "It threw me a bit. I would be lying if I said it didn't."
The Pence family entered quietly and left quickly, as did their Secret Service detail.
"He was very pleasant. The Secret Service agents were easy going and nice. It was a good event," Bergquist said.
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As part of their Memorial Day observance, Mike Pence and Karen Pence met with four Gold Star families in Minturn's Turntable restaurant.
"We were honored to host VP Pence, his wife Karen and families of four fallen soldiers today. It was a great Memorial Day event to remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice," the Turntable staff said in a statement.
About the only major disruptions were delayed school buses when local roads were cleared Friday afternoon, to create a clear route for Mike Pence's motorcade.
Those tasked with protecting the vice president during the visit played it close to their bulletproof vests.
Federal law enforcement officials with the Secret Service said they're not allowed to comment on "protectees," or the missions they run and had no comment on the vice president's Vail trip.
The Vail Police Department said they do not discuss its work with visiting dignitaries.
The local Special Operations Unit helped provide support for the vice president's security detail, said Avon Police Chief Greg Daly, who also leads the county's SWAT team.
That SWAT team, as well as an engine crew from the Eagle River Fire Protection District, were in Camp Hale for the Sunday afternoon wedding.
A military transport plane delivered armored vehicles to the Eagle County Regional Airport on Thursday afternoon, prior to Pence's arrival. Pence flew out Sunday afternoon.
"It all went very well. There were no problems," Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek said.
Eagle County Airport manager Kip Turner said the vice president's Boeing 757 takes off and lands like most of the other aircraft the airport handles.
"Any time it's the president or vice president, there are certain measures to ensure their safety," Turner said. "If there's any type of disruption, it's usually only for a few seconds to a few minutes."
This weekend's vice presidential Vail Valley excursion was not the first for Mike Pence or his plane. The Air Force crews that fly the Boeing 757 spent weeks training for high-elevation takeoffs and landings out of Eagle County.
Mike Pence and his family landed in Eagle County and traveled to Aspen for the 2017 Christmas and News Year's holidays.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.