2014 Accolades & Testimonials


Thank you and your committee for allowing Papa Company (Rangers) to be a part of the annual celebration in Cripple Creek. The honor of leading the parade was a tremendous gesture and very much appreciated by us all. Having never received any welcome or thanks after returning from Vietnam, the overwhelming and heartfelt reception we felt from the crowd lining both sides of the street was one of the most satisfying moments of my life. The parade in itself would have been sufficient recognition, but the special ceremony that was arranged afterward was over the top. We as a group know what we did and at what cost, but hearing someone outside our immediate family telling our story and recognizing those brothers we lost was an emotional experience I will never forget.

I've had a small hole in my heart for 45 years. You, your committee, the city of Cripple Creek and all the good people who came to celebrate the veterans of this country have finally closed that hole. The traveling wall was the icing on the cake. Once again, looking at familiar names, I got the chance to remember friends and a brotherhood I will never be able to duplicate. I hope to attend other rallies in your fine community and help others attain closure and feel eternal gratitude for what your celebration accomplishes. Nothing but Kudos for the whole event. Can't close without thanking our brother Carney Walters and his Wife Mary for helping set this all up.

Rangers Lead The Way!

Steve Nash
Papa Company Rangers, 75th Infantry



DuShane-150We have never been in the company of Hundreds , no thousands of people who were there to show respect for American Veterans from all services and all wars. To be recognized by your peers is as good as it gets and to have them cheering and clapping as we passed will never be forgotten , We were having our fifteen minutes of fame.

As we filed into the park area and took up our reserved seat's , We watched and listened to the Honors being given to other chosen Veterans past and present, It was an honor just to be there. We were then called forward as a company of Rangers for our memorial service to give honor to our fallen Brothers, Who will forever remain young men . I could see the pride amongst all who were in the ranks , Tears on every face, We have not forgotten you. This whole experience was nothing but positive from start to finish , The people, the vendors, Law enforcement, the dinner at the casino and all the events that brought this Rally together was all positive and all American , You, Stu and all the others that put this together, Thank you is not enough, my highest praise is you did it the Ranger way, One Hundred and ten percent and then some. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill " Never have so many owed so much to so few". All of you who made this event happen Have done a great service for all who are lucky enough to attend. Rangers Lead The Way!

Ranger C.J. Duke DuShane
Vietnam : 63,65-66, 69-70
Past President 75TH Ranger Regiment Assn.
Member : Ranger Hall of Fame
Member : Distinguished Member of the Regiment



The Veterans Rally in Cripple Creek is one of the best testimonies I know of that says loud and clear, "American patriotism lives!" It was a wonderful and respectful tribute to all those who have served our nation in uniform, past and present. This year, having former POWs and members of Papa Company of 75th Rangers was both humbling and inspiring. The tears were real, the hugs and back-slaps genuine. I know mine were. What a great professionally conducted event that put honor where honor is due. Teller County Colorado was honored to host such a great event again this year.

Norm Steen
Teller County Commissioner
Brigadier General, retired



I have been to the Salute to Veterans Rally before, but this year was especially rewarding. This is really such a special event that brings together so many who have served and those who support our veterans and troops.

Thank you for arranging to have the memory of my son, Danny P. Dietz. Jr and his teammates from Operation Red Wings memorialized. It was an incredible honor to be part of the entire weekend but the ceremony and plaque dedication were quite moving and your efforts to keep not only Danny’s name alive, but the names of all who have fallen is greatly appreciated by the Gold Star Community.

We are grateful that you gave us the chance as well to have a booth at the event. We were able to raise awareness of the charity we run in Danny’s memory and to share his story with the event attendees. We met some incredible people at the Rally and very much look forward to taking part in the future.

Thank you,
Cindy Dietz-Marsh
Gold Star Mother
PO2 Danny P. Dietz, Jr., US Navy SEAL



The Salute to American Veterans was a very impressive event, and an excellent weekend. The ceremony presented in honor of our veterans was incredible and quite thorough. I believe all veterans, across the generations, were given a fitting tribute in this weekend's ceremony. It was an amazing time walking down the street seeing all the veterans, and supporters at this event. Everyone was wearing something in honor of a veteran they knew or the time they served and the fellows they served with. It was an honor march in the parade and present the colors for this year's ceremony. We enjoyed ourselves greatly and were proud to be a part of the event.

Semper Fidelis,
Staff Sergeant Ayers
USNorthCom and NORAD Color Guard



I am honored to have the opportunity to say a few words about the most enlivening, exciting and uplifting experience of any gathering of Veterans since I became one.

I must admit that I had never before heard of the Salute to American Veterans until about two months ago. Now, because of the size of the Heart, which he wears all over this production, and the extraordinary professionalism and competence of his crew, Veterans all over the country will know about Cripple Creek, Colorado, Jim Wear and his Honoring of America's Veterans.

I didn't tell Jim when he graciously agreed to sit with me to tell me his story, that I was going to submit a small article to The California Vietnam Veterans of America's State semi- monthly News paper or that I am also giving the story to The National Vietnam Veterans of America's Magazine, The Veteran, which will be seen by the many thousands of members in every State. I guess I'm telling him here!

I am very impressed, which doesn't happen often, with the absolute smoothness and timing that all the special events within the event, went off without any visible hitch in the attendees eyes. The best part is, Jim is not a Veteran.

Thank you, Jim, for the great honor you give to us and the warmth that is felt by us in a crowd of many thousands. I had a fabulous time and will share it in every way I can.

I'm coming back as often as possible and bringing a nation of Veterans with me!

Alfred J. Sickle
Vietnam Veterans of America
At Large Director, California State Council,
1st Vice president, Chapter 391,
Sonora, California



This was my first year participating in the Salute to Veterans Rally, but it will definitely not be my last. This was by far one of the most impressive veterans events I have seen in 45 years. Words can't begin to describe the quality of the event, the level of respect paid to our veterans (past and present), and the welcoming atmosphere set by Teller County, the City of Cripple Creek, and the team at Pro Promotions. Every Vet, family member, or friend in attendance could not only see, but feel that their sacrifices were very much appreciated. For some, this may have been the first time they felt that sense of pride and appreciation since returning home or leaving the service. Regardless of their past situations, every one of them felt a part of a large, welcoming family that weekend. As a 3rd generation veteran, my emotions got to me several times during the day as I thought about the service and sacrifices of my uncles, bother, father, and grandfather. All of them were with me in spirit that day--from across the US or from a peaceful resting place. On behalf of all of them thank you for such a great event!

Commander, 50th Space Wing



As one of the wives of the Papa Co. Rangers I would like to take the opportunity to thank you the town of Cripple Creek and all who were involved in the organization of the parade and ceremony honoring our men.

To say it was life changing is an understatement.

Like most of us Ranger wives I am sure that watching our men walk the parade and stand at attention while so many looked on was emotional beyond belief. The pride was overwhelming.

I have had the great fortune of being part of the reunions for the past four years and every year has gotten better. The friendships and the bonds that have been formed are unbreakable. Stories are told, memories are shared not by all, some remain quiet like my husband Rick but all in all sometimes words are not needed between them. We are always excited to regroup. And of course grateful to Carney, Mary and Terry for all they put into getting us together. This reunion will possibly never be outdone, and I am fine with that as are most I am sure.

The years have passed but little has really been forgotten. Hurt, anger, all the tragedies of war have been carried in the hearts and souls of these men. As wives we do our best to make life easier but never forgetting where they have been.

This parade and ceremony was possibly the most healing event of our Ranger's lives. A simple thank you will never suffice so please know that every time we share the story of that day with friends and family it is done with a smile and a tear and a grateful heart. It was a long time coming and worth the wait.

Linda Chitwood
Proud wife of Papa Company Ranger Richard Chitwood



I know it may be overused but “words cannot express” what a wonderful experience we had at the 27th Salute to American Veterans Rally and Festival. The people were like-minded – they love America and truly support our military. Hooyah! (The battle cry for sea air land specwarriors, aka NAVY SEALS.)

The presentation on Saturday was emotional and inspiring. I know I speak for all the family members, “Thank you for keeping the memory of the Operation Red Wings men alive. “

Fondly, Donna and Corky Axelson
Gold Star parents of Matthew “Axe” Axelson
Operation Red Wings - Lone Survivor
Afghanistan 28 June 2005



From the Widows of AMERICAN EX-POW’S:

This celebration was indeed the best ever! What an honor to be with you all and getting to participate with the “Cream of the Crop” so to speak.

It was so special to hear the story of Bady and meeting his sponsors - they too are very special people. I had the honor of meeting Bady and will not forget him.

The whole day was special but seeing the men of Papa Company and their emotions while Monica was singing “Welcome Home” was so inspiring and I’m sure there was not a dry eye to be seen. What a great tribute to Veterans who so truly deserve it.

Jim, you are an excellent speaker and have such control over the entire program it just amazes me that everything goes along without a “hitch” and you make it seem so easy.

Thank you for providing the great accommodation for Pat and me. We both appreciate it very much.

We also enjoyed the lunch with the Teller County officials. We have gotten to know them and it makes a wonderful ending of a very special weekend.

Love and THANKS,
Ruth Sheaves & Pat Thompson



It's very difficult to put into words how much that parade & ceremony meant to my Brothers and I. I know because over the last couple weeks I've tried to tell people about it and found myself short of words to explain the emotions. Papa Company can no longer say "We didn't get our parade or Welcome Home" You guys provided that over the top!

I can't say thanks enough for making me look like a hero as our Reunion Coordinator. I've heard that this one can never be topped!

Rangers Lead the Way!
Harry "Carney" Walters
Papa Company - 75th Infantry Division
US Army Rangers - Vietnam



As a 20-year veteran of the 101st Army Band, Colorado National Guard, I have participated in numerous memorial services and I have never been so moved and touched as I was during the Remembrance Ceremony at this years American Veterans Rally.

The entire ceremony was very well organized and fulfilled its promise of honoring all members of our Armed Services. I was humbled by the stories of POW's, and the "welcome home" of our Vietnam veterans brought me to tears. The range of emotions I felt that day is hard to put into words and it is something I still experience as I tell others about the ceremony.

I want to thank Jim Wear at Pro Promotions for inviting us be a part of a truly memorable event on such a beautiful day.

SSG Alisa Anderson
101st Army Band
Colorado National Guard



What an honor and privilege it was to attend and participate in the 2014 Salute To American Veterans Event. Every year is better than the last and this year was no different. Congratulations on another “Outstanding” weekend in Cripple Creek Colorado. On behalf of Rolling Thunder CO 1, I wish to personally thank you Jim, Pam and Pro Promotions for your passionate work and dedication to honor our Great Country, our Service Men and Women, our POW/MIA, and Veterans past and present. Nowhere in America do I as a veteran, feel more “welcomed Home” then in Cripple Creek in August.

The POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony was exceptional and appropriately solemn as you honored true American Heroes. I am humbled to be in a venue with WWII and Korean ex-POW, and thanks to your event, these men and women will never be forgotten. Once again Rolling Thunder CO 1 had the distinct privilege and honor of performing the Missing Man Table Ceremony in the Remembrance Ceremony. Our chapter takes great pride in performing this ceremony and we truly appreciate the opportunity to remember those MIA who are not with us. And this year we also performed this ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial Wall and hope to include this in your weekend program for many years to come.

I must also thank the citizens and businesses of Cripple Creek for their support and their friendship. Everywhere we went we were met with warmth and respect. This is a town of Patriots who wear their colors proudly. We are already planning for 2015 and we’ll see you next year in Cripple Creek.

Mike Messenger
Rolling Thunder Chapter 1 CO



Words cannot express the range of emotions one goes through during the Salute to the American Veterans Rally here in Cripple Creek. Somber, yet proud as the Traveling Vietnam Wall makes it way into town and then on to the high school football field. The cheerful anticipation as all the vendors, volunteers and the staff of Pro Promotions begin arriving in town. The respect for all the riders that make their way from Woodland Park each year in the POW/MIA Recognition ride and the pride we feel as all those riders and all those beautiful flags come rolling into town. Once again somber, at The Remembrance Ceremony, as we honor our heroes. Tears of sorrow, tears of pride. I have been honored to be invited to sit amongst some of the most remarkable service members, and the families of some of those no longer with us at these ceremonies and my heart is filled with pride and love for these devoted citizens and our country. Then, delight, as we come together to enjoy the afternoon and evening rally festivities with our old friends that we are so excited to see every year and the new friends we have made during this rally. And last but not least, grateful. Grateful to all of those who have served. Grateful to Mr. Wear and his organization, for bringing this event to us year after year. Grateful for the opportunity at least once a year to remember and say thank-you.

Leslie K. Harris
Marketing Director
Double Eagle Hotel and Casino



2014 was my first year for the Salute to American Veterans Rally. As such, I really didn't have any expectations. I had heard comments (all positive) from past year's participants, ranging from "It's a mini Sturgis" to "You'll have a great time". However, the bottom line was that I was NOT prepared for what I was about to experience. Yes, in many ways it was a mini Sturgis. However, the BIG difference was that it had a purpose. It had a mission. The bottom line is that I was totally blown away! The ceremony by the gazebo was one of the most moving events that I have ever attended. It certainly made me proud to be recognized as a Veteran. But, it also humbled me by the many stories of sacrifice that many of my fellow Veterans endured.

The 2014 Salute to American Veterans Rally, was totally amazing! You, Sir, have done the Veterans proud! God Bless you and your staff for putting on such an incredible event. I DEFINITELY will be back for 2015. In fact, I'd like to have MileHiRadio do a "LIVE" remote of the ceremony so that we can broadcast it around the world and ALL Veterans can be a part of this, no matter where they are!

Thank You for the opportunity to be a part of this!

Littleton, Colorado