American Legion seeks descendants of Grand County’s WWI veterans
Grand County’s local chapter of the American Legion is gearing up for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I this November and they are looking for family members of those who served in the Great War.
Jerry Boyd, Commander of American Legion Post 88, based in Grand County, is spearheading an initiative to find the living decedents of the servicemen who served in the US military during World War I.
“Grand County had 161 citizens that were either enlisted or drafted into military service for World War I,” Boyd said. “They all left here and went to Camp Funston in Kansas, which is now Fort Riley.”
Boyd further noted that of the 161 Grand County citizens who entered military service during World War I a total of nine did not return home alive. Of those nine deaths six died of illnesses while three were combat related deaths. One of the three combat deaths came in late July of 1918 while the other two both occurred in Nov. 4, just days before the end of the war, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
“We are doing an award presentation for any of the family members we can locate,” Boyd said. “We want to present either a blue star or gold star banner to the families.”
Boyd explained that the tradition of star banners was started in World War I. Banners, either blue or gold, were presented to the families of service members. Blue star banners were presented to families who had relatives serving in the military while gold star banners were presented to the families of those who perished in the war.
According to Boyd the American Legion has already identified 20 families who the Legion believes are relatives of those who served during World War I. The Legion plans to award the banners at this year’s Veterans Day breakfast, which will be held on Monday Nov. 12 when Veterans Day will officially be observed. The Veterans Day breakfast and award ceremony will be held in the Schlessman Commons building at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch. Boyd said the program for the morning is expected to begin at 9:10 a.m.
Additional the American Legion Post 88 in Grand County is also attempting to raise funds for a grave marker initiative the Legion is undertaking. According to Boyd the Legion hopes to raise enough money to cover costs associated with purchasing and installing veteran grave markers at the grave sites of all service members who are buried in Grand County. The future grave markers are brass discs roughly five inches across placed on a stake near the person’s headstone.
Boyd said the Legion is still working to determine the exact number of veterans who are buried in Grand County cemeteries but noted that each marker will cost roughly $40. The Legion will be seeking donations from local community members to help cover those costs and will be at Granby’s City Market store on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, collecting donations.
To help raise awareness about their endeavors the local Legion chapter has partnered with the Peaks’ N Pines Quilt Guild. Members of the Quilt Guild have created a commemorative quilt honoring the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day that will be raffled off as a door prize to one lucky attendee at the Veterans Day breakfast next Monday.
If you believe you are a relative of one of Grand County’s World War I era service members the American Legion asks you to reach out to Post Commander Gerald “Jerry” Boyd at 720-724-5283 or by contacting Grand County’s Veteran’s Service Officer Duane Dailey at 970-725-3122.
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