Vail Daily letter: Van Beek for sheriff |

Vail Daily letter: Van Beek for sheriff

I am writing this letter in support of James van Beek for sheriff.

I grew up a ward of the state of Colorado. After bouncing in and out of several dozen different foster homes, I became the very first of more than 100 foster kids at the Bonsals’ group home for troubled teens in Gypsum from 1992-1996. It was during this time I first met James van Beek.

Growing up a foster kid, you learn real fast not to trust the “system.” Sadly, you get a front-row seat on how the system really works and the people who work for it. It becomes painfully clear real quick whose job is just a paycheck for them. It was never like that with James, though. He truly cared about any of the foster kids he came into contact with and all of us kids knew there was something different about him. He truly wanted to help and cared what happened to us.

What amazes me even more is that James still checks in on me even all these years later. It’s not his job anymore and benefits him in no way. He just genuinely cares about people, their success and well-being. Living here nearly all my life, I have to say I have seen some real changes in Eagle County over the last 10 years. There seems to have become a division between the police and this community. Most people I talk to feel more afraid than protected when dealing with the police, and it shouldn’t be that way. We live in a great valley with great people and we have to remember we are all in this together. It’s time to bridge that gap in our community.

I read a support letter in the paper and was shocked. The guy demanded answers for why James hasn’t applied for a job at the Sheriff’s Office, questioning James’ experience and asked if he has ever driven a bus. The whole article came off very ignorant to me. First off, James has a tremendous amount of experience in law enforcement and anyone with any knowledge of this situation would know that.

As far as the other jobs he has had, who cares? One of the things I find so great about James is no one and nothing is below him, especially if it betters his family or community. Since I was a kid, James has demonstrated his love of people, his commitment to help, to serve and a desire to positively impact the lives of everyone he comes into contact with. He has proven to be a hardworking, dedicated family man whose integrity is 100 percent intact.

Everyone, please get out and vote. You can make the difference!

Leta Popa

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