Local Scout places bronze markers at veterans’ graves in Steamboat Springs Cemetery

Scott Franz
Bronze markers now adorn the graves of veterans in the Steamboat Springs Cemetery who do not have military headstones.
Scott Franz

— In the past, when the American flags were removed from James Albert Chew’s grave after Memorial Day ceremonies, all of the visible reminders of the man’s military service disappeared from the Steamboat Springs Cemetery.

Now, thanks to the efforts of an aspiring Eagle Scout and other volunteers, the former police officer’s military service and the service of 125 other veterans buried in the cemetery without military headstones will be recognized year-round.

The recognition comes in the form of new, permanent bronze markers the local Boy Scouts placed at the veterans’ graves Monday.

Grant Pohlman, a local boy who undertook the endeavor as his Eagle Scout project, said it felt good to bring more recognition to the veterans who are buried here.

“Now, people will always know they were veterans and that they served their country,” the 14-year-old said as the Scouts fanned out across the cemetery to place the markers.

Chew served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1955 to 1963 before joining the local police department, according to his obituary published in Steamboat Pilot & Today.

He was shot and killed here in 1972 while attempting to apprehend a prison escapee who was loose in the city limits.

Chew is the only Steamboat officer to be killed in the line of duty.

Other local veterans whose graves recently were marked with the markers include ski racer Buddy Werner, author John Rolfe Burroughs and ski jumper Gordy Wren.

The graves that received the veteran markers have family headstones instead of military ones.

Jim Stanko, who serves on the cemetery’s board of directors, said there are 296 veteran graves in the cemetery.

He said Pohlman’s project will make it easier for the flags to be placed in front of all the veterans’ graves for Memorial Day.

As part of the grave-marking project, Pohlman plans to create a brochure about local veterans who are buried at the cemetery.

“This is a good thing to do,” Pohlman said.

On Memorial Day, members of the Steamboat Springs Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4264 and America Legion Post 44 will host a public ceremony at the Steamboat Springs Cemetery to honor and remember the sacrifices made by local veterans in the service of their country. The ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. Monday. Steamboat Springs Transit will provide bus service from the Stock Bridge Transit Center to the cemetery starting at 9:45 a.m. The last bus leaves for the cemetery at 10:40 a.m. Buses will return right after the ceremony.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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