Veterans Day events return as communities honor those who served |

Veterans Day events return as communities honor those who served

A tradition of bringing veterans into Routt County schools to celebrate Veterans Day will resume in 2021, after taking a hiatus last year, but the events will again mostly look different from past years due to lingering impacts of COVID-19.

“It feels really good,” Jim Stanko, adjutant Routt County veteran service officer, said of the fifth-grade programs at the elementary schools that have become a Veterans Day tradition. “The kids always put on a fantastic program.”

Hal Matthes, commander of the American Legion Post No. 44, said the Veterans Day ceremonies at the schools make the day special for those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“It’s always kind of the highlight of the year for the veterans,” Matthes said. “It’s great to see the young folks, and it kind of rejuvenates us.”

Matthes said he enjoys watching the children perform presentations, which are filled with the nation’s history and showcases the sacrifices those who have served have made over the years. It also shows the importance of those sacrifices and the role veterans played during conflicts, including in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Matthes said that Memorial Day and Veterans Day are pretty close in terms of their importance for the VFW and American Legion posts in Steamboat Springs, but he feels that Veterans Day stands out each year.

“They’re probably pretty close, but Veterans Day is a kind of a fun day, whereas Memorial Day is more of a sad, serious day,” Matthes said.

Steamboat Springs

Thursday’s nonschool events in Steamboat take place from 6:30-8 a.m. when veterans are invited to Sharon’s Restaurant for a free breakfast. Johnny B. Goods Diner will also be offering a free meal to veterans. The Ore House at Pine Grove traditionally offers veterans dinner on Veterans Day, but renovations mean those meals will be pushed back, according to Stanko.

The school events start at 8:45 a.m. with the veterans heading to Soda Creek Elementary for a program that will be put on by the fifth-grade class. School officials said the presentation will be limited to veterans, students and their parents.

Sleeping Giant School will host events starting with a 1 p.m. reception for veterans and a program to follow at 2 p.m., marking the first time the new school has hosted an event. Strawberry Park Elementary will not host a program this year.

Masks are required at all of the events in Steamboat.

Matthes said veterans normally visit Casey’s Pond on Veterans Day so that the 26 veterans who are living there are included in the day’s activities. Because of COVID-19, Matthes said the events at Casey’s Pond will be limited this year, but he said that a group of four veterans will present the veterans that live there with a special Veterans Day card with a small flag and poppy stickers attached.

South Routt

South Routt Elementary School will host a program for veterans at 9 a.m., where veterans will present the nation’s colors.

The public is invited to the event, which will mark a return to the normal Veterans Day ceremonies.


Hayden Superintendent Christy Sinner said Hayden will transition back to a more normal Veterans Day program this year.

Veterans will be honored during an 11 a.m. presentation at Hayden Valley Schools. Veterans are then invited to lunch following the presentation.

“They have always put on a fantastic program. As veterans, we enjoy it, and they make us feel appreciated for what we did,” Stanko said. “It’s going be good to go back there again, and all the veterans are looking forward to it.”

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