Granby " YMCA of the Rockies sends a little Colorado cool to troops in Iraq |

Granby " YMCA of the Rockies sends a little Colorado cool to troops in Iraq


Katie Looby- Nathan Russell, a human resources director for Snow Mountaun Ranch at the YMCA, displays some bumber stickers he plans to send to family members and troops deployed in Iraq.

Most Grand County residents don’t have to go too far to remember what snow looks like, but Colorado natives deployed in Iraq could use a reminder.

Nathan Russell, human resources director for YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch, wants to send bumper stickers and decals to the troops in Iraq to remind them of the cooler climate and Colorado activities.

“They want to put it on the inside of their armored vehicles,” Russell added. “They’ll decorate their office cubes, sleeping corners, and anything that has a flat service. They can also give them to the Iraqi children as favors.”

He has two cousins from Palmer Lake currently deployed in Iraq. Maj. Laura Calese, senior lawyer for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division; and her husband, Lt. Col. Gary Calese, who is the battalion executive officer for the 40th Engineers. The couple has four daughters between the ages of 1 and 10 who are living with an aunt and uncle.

Russell said his family has been asking his cousins what they can do to help, and at the end of June they found out. The soldiers would like something that reminds them of their home state, such as ski and snowboard bumper stickers or decals.

“It’s so hot ” like daytime 120 (degrees), and it gets up to 150 (degrees) inside the armored vehicles where they work and ride,” Russell said. “The AC (air conditioner) fails pretty often. So any suggestion of cool and cold is welcome.”

In addition, fly-fishing, rafting, biking or other adventure sport-themed stickers also are welcome. The catchier and more creative the phrase the better, Russell added.

“We’re going to donate whatever we can,” Russell added of the YMCA gift shop.

Gary Calese, who is on his second tour, will dispense the stickers as well as other items donated including postcards, to his brigade.

People who would like to make donations should deliver them to a dropbox at the YMCA by Aug. 1. The YMCA plans to ship them out right away.

In addition, the YMCA is offering a Military Getaway Weekend. This includes: two nights of lodging and meals for four people for a price tag of $80. More information can be found at or by calling 800-777-YMCA.