Delta County military veterans assembled last week to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their meet-and-greet coffee gatherings. As part of the celebration, Danny Cerise, an Army veteran, was honored with a commemorative wooden cane. Cerise served from 1967-1973 and attained the rank of sergeant. He was awarded a Bronze Star for service in Vietnam.
The tradition of presenting canes to veterans dates back to the Civil War. Each cane is hand-fashioned by members of the Black Canyon Wood Carvers, the Montrose Area Wood Turners, and the Woodworkers Guild of Western Colorado. To date, more than 500 canes have been presented to honor the service of area veterans. Those wishing to nominate a veteran to receive a cane can contact Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans (WHAFV) at 970-765-2210.
Cedaredge merchants whose volunteer efforts have supported veterans were presented with plaques of appreciation. DJ and Barb Hladik, owners of The Pondy Tavern, were thanked for providing the group's meeting space and coffee. And Stacy Malmgren, owner of Stacy's on Main, was thanked for providing bakery goods and other treats.
Mike Trickey, executive director of WHAFV, emphasized that the alliance has been successful in providing services to veterans for two reasons: the work of over one hundred volunteers and the strong support of Western Colorado communities that honor those who serve.
The Welcome Home Alliance sponsors the coffees which are held from 10 a.m. to noon on the third Tuesday of every month at The Pondy in downtown Cedaredge. In addition to interacting with other veterans, those who attend the coffees also have the opportunity to meet with veterans services providers.