Local veterans cancel Wednesday’s courthouse gathering | SteamboatToday.com

Local veterans cancel Wednesday’s courthouse gathering

Veterans in Steamboat Springs had hoped to celebrate Veterans Day by waving to passing cars from noon to 1 p.m. on the front lawn of the Historic Routt County Courthouse. However, at the urging of Routt County commissioners and facing a current spike in COVID-19 cases, the group has elected not to hold the event.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Hal Matthes commander of American Legion Leo Hill Post #44 in Steamboat Springs, made the hard decision Monday night to call off Wednesday’s planned Veterans Day celebration on the lawn of the historic Routt County Courthouse.

“I really admire the veterans for making the choice that they did on behalf of the community,” Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan said. “Veterans of all people understand sacrifice and what that means, and so I truly salute them for the choice that they made.”

Local veterans were planning to meet from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday in front of the downtown Courthouse. They expected about 25 to 30 veterans to attend, and they would have maintained safe social distance and worn masks during the gathering.

The state currently allows only personal gatherings of 10 people coming from no more than two households. Outdoor, unseated events are limited to 175 people at level yellow or 75 people at level orange.

Corrigan said the Board of County Commissioners had concerns about endorsing the Veterans Day event, given the current state of disease spread within the community. He said there was some question about waiving insurance requirements, but that was not the issue.

He said the veterans did not really need a permit to hold the outdoor event, but with the current rise of local COVID-19 cases, he was glad the veterans made the decision to cancel the event themselves.

“We did not tell the veterans they could not have the event,” Corrigan said. “We merely asked them to reconsider whether or not it was a good idea, and again, I feel like they stepped up to the plate and made a choice on behalf of the community.”

Matthes said Jim Stanko, representing the VFW and American Legion, had applied for a permit to hold the Veterans Day event a couple of weeks ago. Since then, the group has been going back and forth with the commissioners on whether or not to hold the event.

“No, it’s not the Veterans Day we had hoped for,” Matthes said. “I tried to put myself in his position (Corrigan’s). They’re out there encouraging people to stay home, and the veterans are kind of almost making a mockery of that by going out there. So that was really the reason we decided to just bail on it.”

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