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Van Vleet photo puts Paonia on soda label

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Photo by Tamie Meck Cameron Van Vleet, of Paonia, holds a Jones Soda label with an image of the Grand Avenue Bridge that he captured last Memorial Day. Van Vleet entered the photo in a contest and it was selected to be printed on thousands of labels. Van

Last summer, Paonia resident Cameron Van Vleet purchased a bottle of Jones Soda from Don's Market and noticed something on the label. "Send us your photo," it reads. "If we like it we will put it on our label!"

Van Vleet, a senior at Paonia High School who is enjoying his final weeks of sports and classes, decided on a whim that he'd give it a try and submitted three or four of his favorite images. Among them was one of the Grand Avenue Bridge snapped with his phone last year on Memorial Day. Each year, for one of their four Memorial Day ceremonies, the American Legion Post 97's Legionnaires, Women's Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion members line the bridge with about a dozen American flags.

Of the photos he sent, "This one was my fave," said Van Vleet.

Jones Soda liked it, too, and in December selected the photo for its label contest. Van Vleet received his congratulatory letter about two weeks ago, along with a few labels, which show the image in black and white. "Only about 1 percent get picked," said Van Vleet, who has entered other contests throughout the years. "A lot of times they don't pan out as well as this one did."

Van Vleet said that about 10,000 bottles will be graced with the image, which also credit Van Vleet for the photo and state that it was taken in "Paonia, CO."

Van Vleet said he was "kind of bummed they didn't send me a soda, but I'll take the labels."

Since Jones Soda, which is based in Canada, distributes from coast to coast, odds are slim that one would end up in Paonia, but it's possible. Van Vleet said he's asking friends and family members to keep their eye open for one of the bottles.

"It'd be cool to find one," he said. "I'd like to keep it."

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