Old Glory Waves Again Over the Old Tabor Opera
It’s said that Leadvillites are a patriotic group of folks. You can find evidence of that in the countless parades, the Fourth of July fireworks, and the Harrison Avenue flags, proudly put on display by the Leadville Lions Club.
So it’s probably no surprise, that within minutes of running a new flag up the 50 foot pole on the roof of the Historic Tabor Opera House, the phone was ringing, explained owner Sharon Bland.
“Oh yeah, we immediately got phone calls,” laughs Bland as she describes the scene on the morning of Friday, August 30 when America’s Star and Stripes were waving once again over the historic opera house. No doubt it was noticed, it’d been a while.
“I don’t ever remember seeing a picture of a flag flying over the opera house since maybe Tabor’s days,” recalls Bland.
Of course, over the years, the flying of the flag was often discussed. After all, you can’t miss the 50 foot pole perched atop Harrison Avenue’s historic theater gem. But the task of running it up and down on a daily basis was logistically impossible, even during the fairer summer season.
The only other option was to light it up, so that it could wave 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But quite frankly, with all of the other preservation and restoration projects underway at the Tabor, the lighting of the flag pole was not at the top of any of those lists, which included fire escapes and roof repairs.
Enter Don and Deb Miller who live up on E. 4th Street and have always thought that a flag flying on the Tabor roof would sure add nicely to their views of Mts Massive and Elbert.
“The idea was really Deb’s,” explains Don Miller, “because when she would see that great big flag that flies over the Walmart in Avon, she would always remark, ‘wouldn’t it be great to see a big flag fly over the Tabor in Leadville.”
The Millers decided to do something about it this year and stopped into the opera house after the Fourth of July Parade. “Everyone liked the idea,” said Miller, “so I met with the local VFW and we brought together a group of veterans to get the job done!”
The project really got some fire under it when the inaugural Two-Mile High Veterans Weekend plans were underway for Labor Day Weekend. On Friday, August 30, 2013 America’s Star and Stripes hung proudly once again from Leadville’s Historic Tabor Opera House.
“People just love it!” concluded Bland.
Honoring Leadville’s Emergency First Responders
Often times they are the first people on the scene of an accident or other emergency situation. They act with experience and training. They are Leadville’s Emergency First Responders.
Honoring: St. Vincent Hospital EMS Staff
The primary duty of the St.Vincent Hospital EMS system is to provide prehospital assessment, triage, treatment and transport, per the county’s 911 system. Along with that, the department interfaces with law enforcement, fire department and search and rescue and flight for life, not only on scenes, but with training and running special events in the community.
EMS staff assist with approximately 15 special events during the summer, and a few more during the winter months and are involved with community education, mostly in the younger grades, but sometimes in the high school.
EMS has run mock mass casualty events for training and also for the benefit of high school issues around prom and graduation. They assist with the college with ambulance orientation and here in the hospital when EMT students come in to do training sessions on a one on one basis.
The department’s second responsibility lies in the ED. The staff is on 24 hour shifts to cover both pre-hospital events, and ED events. They serve as ER techs, assisting with patient care with vitals, IV starts, blood draws, medication administration for those who are ALS providers, and many other side jobs that need to be handled.
EMS arranges transfers, both by ground with our ambulances and/or flight for life and help clear the landing zone for the chopper.
The EMS crews are also called down to the med surg. unit to assist with IV starts, vitals, and any emergency that may come up there. They are often working out of sight of the main hospital comings and goings, but always around behind the scenes.
Leadville’s Honor: Two-Mile High Veterans Weekend
Lake County veterans gathered with other military personnel from around the U.S. in Leadville over Labor Day weekend in what organizers hope will become the annual Two-Mile High Veterans Weekend. The inaugural two-day event included a veterans welcome and tribute at the Historic Tabor Opera House. Special guest of honor Major General Larry Nicholson was in attendance along with dozens of visiting servicemen and women from all branches of the military.
During the program, Leadville Mayor Jamie Stuever presented the General with a “key to the city” and the crowd was entertained by an historical program presented by Leadville’s Judge, the Honorable Neil Reynolds.
So how did the Two-Mile High Veterans Weekend come about? And why did the group choose Leadville as the place to have the event?
A bit of background: Major General Larry Nicholson and his former State Department advisor J.K. Weston, also in attendance for the weekend, served tours together in Fallujah, Iraq, and Helmand, Afghanistan. General Nicholson was wounded by a rocket attack at Camp Fallujah in September 2004. After recovering from his wounds at Bethesda Naval Military Hospital, he returned to Iraq to complete his tour. In 2006 and 2007, he served again in Fallujah as the commanding officer of the 5th Marine Regiment. Weston represented the State Department in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2010.
After returning home, they considered how to mark the service of veterans from all branches. Many troops expressed interest in an informal get-together. They chose Colorado because Weston has family roots in the Rocky Mountain region, and Leadville because it is home to Lance Corporal Nick Palmer, who was killed in action in Fallujah in December 2004. Palmer was part of Nicholson’s Marine regiment. Rather than organize a reunion in a big city, Nicholson and Weston decided Leadville would be an ideal venue because of its strong ties to veterans; its historic setting, characters and stories; and because the city is a symbol of resilience and reinvention with a beautiful Rocky Mountain backdrop.
During the Friday evening program, General Nicholson connected with Leadville’s heritage pride, explaining, “You know as Marines, we love history, we study history. Many people study history, get Phds in it, in fact. But they never make history a day in their lives. As Marines, one day, one deployment in uniform, in the cloth of our nation, and you are now the guy who’s writing the next chapter of the history of our nation. We have a lot of history makers here tonight.”
During the program, the spouses and family members were graciously honored and recognized in a moving rose tribute presented by the opera house owners Sharon and Bill Bland.
In the end, it was General Nicholson who answered the “why Leadville?” question. Why did such high-ranking officers and service men and women choose Leadville to host their military reunion and tribute? Especially considering all of the formal proceedings going on in Washington, D.C. concerning the Syria situation; certainly there were more pressing issues than the Two-Mile High Veterans Weekend?
By his own admission, Nicholson was unsure whether he would actually be able to make the event, but there was one thing that had the General determined to be here.
“There’s a lot going on that is commanding my attention,” he stated, personally addressing the Palmer before the crowd, “But, there is one reason I’m here: Nick Palmer. I’m here to honor you and your family.”
The group continued that honor as they gathered again on Saturday at the Lake County Veterans Memorial at Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery. Tributes were made to Lake County’s most notable veterans Edgar McWethy and Nicklas Palmer, in addition to all who have served the country.
It was a moving weekend, one that organizers also hope to grow. So one this day of honoring and remembering America’s heros, a heartfelt thank you to the organizers of the Two-Mile High Veterans Weekend. And of course, to all the men and women who serve the country in the military or as emergency responders.
America: The home of the free, because of the brave!