While the average age of American Legion members at Crawford Cemetery at last Sunday's Memorial Day service hovered somewhere above 60, those at the ceremony couldn't help but notice young Brady Todd. The former Marine is the newest member of the Crawford American Legion Lynch-Cotten Post 190.
"I'm the youngest member at this time," said Todd, who at age 24 estimates he is about 30 years younger than the next-oldest member. "Very big age gap."
Todd is a fourth-generation Crawford native and 2011 graduate of Hotchkiss High School. His family's military history runs deep. His uncle, Kermit, is a veteran, and his mother's grandfather served in the Air Force in World War II. A cousin served in the Army in Afghanistan. Most recently, said Todd, his cousin Clint Ahlquist, who was also a Marine, was killed in combat in Iraq in 2007.
During his four and a half years in the U.S. Marine Corps he was stationed two years in Japan and traveled to Australia, Guam and Thailand. He then spent the remaining two years stationed in San Diego, Calif.
Following his service, Todd returned to Crawford, which he calls "the best place on the planet." He recently earned his realtor's license and works at mom Liz Heidrick's Needle Rock Realty company. He also works with dad Monty on his cattle ranch, and recently joined the Crawford Fire Department.
Todd said he was recruited by post president Larry Kontour and joined without hesitation. The Legion supports the troops and their families after they return home, he said, and he wants to be a part of that.
The Legion "is also good for the community and needs to keep going," said Todd. "Younger people need to do things like this." To help keep that tradition going, Todd said he is reaching out to other young veterans and urging them to join a service organization.
Participating in Sunday's ceremony was a first for Todd. "It was great to be here and a part of the community and show our support for our fallen comrades," he said. "We've got to remember them because they gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, so we could enjoy the freedoms that we have. Some people take that for granted."
Following services, Todd attended the Memorial Day lunch at the Crawford Methodist Church, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. He said he was in awe of the veterans who received certificates of longevity prior to the ceremony, and especially 70-year member Robert Keenan. "That's incredible," said Todd. "That is a long time. I have a few years before that, but I imagine in 70 years, if I'm still around, I'll probably be here helping and getting one of those as well, because I don't plan on going anywhere."
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.