The past year represented significant challenges and restrictions, but, was also very meaningful and rewarding in a number of ways. Much has happened since I had the great honor of assuming the role of State Captain on March 19, 2020. It is difficult to believe, but, it has been almost fourteen months since I was named SC. I just began my fifteenth year as a member of this incredible Organization. In March, I had hip replacement surgery and was on the sidelines for more than a month. I greatly appreciated the good wishes, phone calls, visits and the generous gift card that I received. My first Mission back was at the briefing, on March 30th, for Boulder Police Officer, Eric Talley. There were 25 members in attendance at that Service, including a few members who had not been able to participate for a year due to Coronavirus concerns for them or for their families. Many of our members have chosen to be vaccinated and a high percentage of those have been active participants. The availability of the vaccines has made it possible to stand with some of those who have been away for awhile.
About the time that I assumed the role of State Captain, the Coronavirus lockdown and safety requirements were put in place. The National Cemeteries ceased holding Interment Services for three full months. The Colorado PGR participated in a few events in May, but, on June 19, 2020 we resumed operations and experienced significant activity under strict requirements. Statewide, we have been honored to stand at 332 Missions, from June 19, 2020 until March 19, 2021. This would project to an annualized number of 442 Missions, which would make this our most active period in the history of the Colorado PGR. This has not been an easy year for any of us. A number of our members contracted the Coronavirus, but, thankfully recovered, and at least one member experienced the death of a loved one due to the virus. Some of our members have avoided public contact in order to protect their health or the health of their loved ones. It has been over a year since some of us have been able to gather together and those members have been missed. It has also been a year in which we have declined to participate in a number of events due to the possibility of health or safety exposures for our members. This has been a year where we have seen loss and tragedy. Just a couple of weeks before I became State Captain, an escorted procession from Colorado to Nebraska for a WWII, Pearl Harbor survivor experienced a traffic accident that cost two lives, including a Kansas PGR member. Four of our members, who had long been part of our PGR family, passed away. Five of our Ride Captains stepped away from their leadership roles for personal reasons, including the impact of the Coronavirus on their lives and livelihoods. Their past leadership has been appreciated. We lost a sixth Ride Captain with the death of Don Goode, from Pueblo. We were blessed to have had seven honorable and committed members step up to serve as RCs. Our membership roles have grown to nearly 300. A number of new members have become regular Mission participants. I have never been more proud of the members and leaders who have stepped up during these unprecedented and challenging times. With attendee limits at the Services in which we participate, our support has never been more appreciated. While some Coronavirus restrictions are being relaxed around us, the Federal Government will likely be among the last to do so, which means that we will be impacted for the foreseeable future at the National Cemeteries. A couple of the All Veterans Honor Guard teams have made the local decision to allow their team members, who stand some distance from the Committal Shelters, to make the wearing of facial coverings optional. The restrictions have yet to be lifted by the VA Cemetery Administration, therefore, we will continue to comply with the published guidelines. We do not want to jeopardize our opportunity to perform our Mission that is so appreciated by those that we support. Sincere thanks to our patriotic and supportive members who embody our core values of honor, respect and selflessness. My association with all of you continues to be a true honor. Jim firstname.lastname@example.org 303-518-8790