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Longs Peak VFW Post 2601 celebrates soft opening at Veterans Day dinner
Daily Times-Call - 11/12/2022
Nov. 12—Veterans in the Longmont area have long been the recipients of a free dinner every Veterans Day courtesy of the Longs Peak VFW Post 2601 and the American Legion Post 32. Friday's dinner also marked another special occasion: the soft opening of the VFW's new home.
Since the sale of its 206 S. Main St. building in 2016, the Longs Peak VFW Post 2601 has jumped between temporary locations in search of a permanent space. Leon Bartholomay, the post's quartermaster, said a lot of work has been done over the week to prepare the building for Friday night's dinner, which was attended by dozens of veterans.
"It's been tiresome but very worthwhile," he said. "Everyone's pretty happy to see us back."
The building at the new location at 340 Lashley Street used to be a hot yoga studio but now sits decorated with American flags and military paraphernalia. The grand opening is set for Dec. 10, but the building is now open to members with reduced hours.
VFW posts around the country support veterans through services and outreach activities, and Longmont's post is no exception. Batholomay said the new location should provide a good foundation for the post's mission of advocating for the community's veterans.
"We're going to learn tonight what works, what doesn't work," he said.
Every year, the VFW post and the American Legion trade off hosting the Veterans Day dinner. For the past six years, the dinners operated out of the American Legion's building even as they were hosted by the VFW.
"We've come a long way," said post commander Garry Wilson.
The Boulder Brassaholics brass ensemble provided an assortment of jazz standards throughout the evening and played the theme songs of each military branch, inviting veterans to stand and be recognized for their service in their respective branches.
Scouts from Longmont'sBoy Scouts of America Troop 67 volunteered to serve food and drinks to the veterans in attendance. Justin Campbell, chartered organization representative for the troop, said the dinner is a great opportunity for the scouts.
"They really enjoy serving veterans," he said. "It's an appreciation of what they provided for our freedom. It's one of those opportunities that not all kids get."
The evening's keynote speaker was retired colonel Kenneth Chavez, who served in the Colorado Army National Guard for 36 years. Chavez spoke about some of Colorado's unique history with veterans' activities, including the fact that Denver is the location of the nation's first VFW post.
"This is the 101st anniversary of the establishment of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the monument over the tomb came from a piece of granite from Colorado," he said.
Chavez thanked all the veterans in attendance and commended the work that went in to pulling off the dinner.
"This is a special day," Chavez said. "We want to make sure vets are recognized and that they know they're appreciated, always."
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