2011 Memorial Service Summary
The 35th Memorial Service held on July 31st, 2011 was very memorable, & touching. As we gathered at the Memorial site it is a bitter sweet, you want to be there but you don’t want to remember that awful night. However we owe it to the 144 who lost their lives that dreadful night. We as survivors have had 35 years of family gatherings, children and grandchildren. They would want all of us to live our lives and go on, but we must never, never forget them.
The Memorial Service was well attended, in spite of the dark cloud that gathered, and gave us a show that that reminded us Mother Nature is still in control. Many people watched as the American Legion Riders, District #4 formed and presented the flag line. What an awesome site to see, as all that is happening the Highway Patrol Honor Guard was forming to Present our Nations Colors. As the service began, they came forward ever so silently, and placed the Flags at each side of the Memorial. Captain Tim Keeton and Trooper Afsoon Ansari remained holding the Flags (as the wind was blowing) throughout the service. The two other officers were Sergeant Dave Blatner, & Sergeant Steve Krebs who retired at the back. We felt so honored to have them there as they too were remembering their fellow officer Sgt. W. Hugh Purdy who gave his life while warning others.
Daryle Klassen delivered his thoughts paraphrasing the Gettysburg Address, it was awesome. (I will attach a Copy of it.) Prayer was given by Rev. Ruegsegger. Alex Vitalle (one of the first scholarship recipients) thanked the Memorial for his Scholarship which helped him through College. He said, through it all he learned so much more about his Great Grandparents, Gene & Faith Saunders.
We Presented 6 Scholarships 5 were not able to attend but were represented by grandparents, aunts & uncles which was great. Kayla Taylor was present she lost her Great Grandparents, Vernon & Nettie Oler. It is always nice to meet the Students, & we wish them all the best in their Careers.
Lonnie Salyer performed by singing 2 songs’ “Help Me” & “God Bless America” both very fitting & touching. Phyllis (Conley) Marks shared her heart felt Memories of that awful Night, ending with the fact she had realized when talking to a friend that she was not a victim she was a survivor (she had always felt like a victim of the flood) that has given her strength as she says, “Time Does Heal.”
The names were read by Rev. Jim Sheets & Rev. Harvey Ruegsegger. A candle was lit for each one by their family as their names were read. The rest of the candles were lit by others who represented those with no family present. Tina Seaman lit the memory Candles for those 5 who were never found. Captain Tim Keeton, presented the Colorado flag to Phyllis in memory of her husband Michel Conley whose life was given while saving others. (He was with the Police Department in Estes Park.)
The Flags were retired, in the same respectful manner, and Prayer was offered by Rev. Jim Sheets, which he Thanked God for Holding off the Rain. Many Candles were placed on the Memorial bricks, some simply held onto them*****we then gathered at the building for visiting and refreshments, there is never enough time for visiting. Thanks to all who attended see you next July 31st.
Sincerely Barb, Shawn, Peg, & Marlene