Banners lining Lincoln Ave. in Steamboat are a reminder of those who served
This year’s mission to hang banners honoring Steamboat Springs veterans was completed on Sunday, Oct. 16, thanks to Main Street Steamboat Springs and a group of volunteers.
“I’m excited. I’m proud, and I was honored to work on the project,” said Loretta Kuhlman, who served in the U.S. Air Force. “It was a little seed in my brain in 2019, and to kind of come full circle is just great.”
Kuhlman started working on the effort to place banners featuring Steamboat Springs veterans on the 32 banner posts that offered 64 veterans a spot lining Lincoln Avenue last summer. This past weekend, the project hung 70 of the 93 banners that were purchased for this year’s effort.
Main Street Steamboat was hoping to hang more banners this year, as the nonprofit group had planned to replace six flower basket posts with banner posts, but that didn’t happen. Now, Main Street Steamboat is hoping to transition those posts before next summer, so that more banners will be able to be placed along Lincoln Avenue next year. The group is also looking into other avenues for expansion in the future, including along Yampa Street.
“There are still plans to convert flower basket posts next year. I don’t know the number off the top of my head, but there hopefully will be an opportunity to put more banners up next year,” Kuhlman said. “It will happen on the weeks around Memorial Day and Veterans Day every year at this point forward. So Memorial Day next year, we’re going to be concentrating on those who were killed in action, plus any who are deceased. Then on Veterans Day, it’ll be living veterans.”
This year, the banners will remain up until Nov. 20, and Kuhlman said the banners will be rotated so that every one of the veterans banners has a chance to be showcased. The West End Sports Bar will also post several in its windows.
Kuhlman said the organizers are still waiting for about 20 banners, which were delayed by a couple of weeks when Hurricane Ian pounded Fort Myers, Florida, where the banners are made. She said the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts in Steamboat will meet on Oct. 30 to take down 20 of the banners and replace them.
Kuhlman added that she has been thrilled with the response the banners have received in the community, as well as with the veterans and their families living in Steamboat Springs, who paid $100 each to make the idea a reality.
“A friend of mine called me up, and she said, ‘I got all emotional looking at them.’ She has no veterans in her family, and she had really no connection except for she knows me,” said Jeff Steck, commander of the Steamboat Springs VFW post. “The honest truth is I got a little emotional because if you go look at the banners, you see there’s husbands and wives side by side, there’s brothers side by side, there’s fathers and sons and fathers and daughters side by side. It’s kind of a big deal.”
He said the banners showcase the families’ connections in Steamboat and their connections to the community.
“Just that connection of our history that I didn’t know about,” Steck said. “There’s people from World War II and World War I. It is a pretty awesome thing to see this connection with today with our connection to the past.”
Kuhlman said anyone interested in purchasing banners, which are available to current or past residents of Routt County, for 2023, can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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