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Celebration of veterans will feature tree planting, barbecue dinner

The American Legion Post 75 will honor seven local veterans during a ceremony Thursday at the Cortez Cemetery. A barbecue dinner will follow at the Legion Hall.
American Legion Post 75 partners with Trillion Tree campaign to honor veterans

The public is invited to attend the Celebration of Heroes event Thursday to honor seven local military veterans.

The tribute is being hosted by the American Legion Ute Mountain Post No. 75 in Cortez.

At 3 p.m. at the Cortez Cemetery, a dedication ceremony will be held for the veterans, each represented by trees planted in their honor at the Veteran Memorial Wall. Prisoners of war also will be recognized.

At 4 p.m., at the American Legion Hall, 320 N. Harrison St., Cortez, a reception for the veterans will be held. The honor guard will give a presentation and hand out plaques to the veterans and their families. Biographies will be read about each veteran.

At 5 p.m., dinner will be served at the Legion Hall provided by End of the Trail catering. The menu is pulled pork or shredded beef, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans and desert. Cost is $10 per plate or $30 per family.

The surviving veterans recognized for this event are: Victor Sundquist, World War II, Army Air Corps; Leroy “Bud” Crawn, World War II Marine Corps.; and Benny Martinez World War II, Navy.

Veterans who have passed away are Joe Konyndyk World War II, Navy; Carl Armstrong, Korean War, Navy; Don Kenney Swank, Vietnam War, Navy; and Terry Knight, Vietnam War, Air Force.

Armstrong and Swank were past commanders of the American Legion Ute Mountain Post No. 75.

“The goal is to remind our community of who our local veterans are and gather together to show them the respect they deserve,” said Post 75 Commander Scott Magness. “It is especially important for our World War II veterans as there are fewer and fewer of them around.”

The veteran celebration is in partnership with the Trillion Tree Campaign, a worldwide effort to plant and conserve 1 trillion trees worldwide by 2030 to restore biodiversity.

The Trillion Trees campaign is planting trees in honor of veterans at other American Legion Posts in Colorado, Magness said.