Your Town, April 21, 2013

The country has been riveted to dramatic news updates this past week as tragic events unfolded in Boston — as well as Texas — in front of our eyes.

Numerous stories were told of survival and far too many lives lost.

But stories also were told of heroes, woven in and out of the story lines, creating a quilt of comfort, in a trying time of tragedy.

Here’s to the heroes and prayers for those who have been lost or face a lengthy recovery.

Here’s a hero with a community connection.

Proud father Ron Velarde of Grand Junction contacted The Daily Sentinel regarding his son, Anthony, a Marine who has been deployed five times.

According to, 1st Sgt. Anthony J. Velarde, the first sergeant with 1st Civil Affairs Group, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device during a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 11. 

Velarde was recognized for his actions during combat operations March 22, 2012, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

At the time, Velarde was a company gunnery sergeant with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment (known as the Blackhearts). He “demonstrated acts of heroism during an eight-hour firefight near a town of Kashta Jelijay,” the website said.

“While overseeing the operation from a command operating center as a senior tactical adviser, Velarde received reports of roadside bombs and two pinned-down Marine platoons, he quickly assembled and led a small reaction force to assist the Marines.”

Said Capt. Travis R.  Martin, Velarde’s company commander while deployed in Afghanistan, “Our (Marines) took the fight to the enemy with great credit to his force of will and constant energy towards the mission. He worked himself ragged for the Marines of Fox Company. 1st Sgt. Velarde is my hero.”

Holy Family Catholic School’s Girl Scout Troop 12214 donated more than 500 boxes of cookies to Catholic Outreach last week. The donation is the largest to a charity made by a troop on the Western Slope, according to a news release from Girl Scouts of Colorado.

Troop 12214 is the largest in Mesa County, with 40 girls registered.

Each year, Girl Scouts adopt Hometown Heroes during the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Troop 12214 chose Catholic Outreach to receive the donations after the troop’s members visited the shelter in December to learn about services provided.

Do you know an extraordinary woman? Or maybe you know many.

Present her (them) with the Extraordinary Women Mug and help those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault through Hilltop’s Latimer House and Tri-County Resources.

Funds are raised through the sale of collectible mugs featuring original artwork by local artist Dianna Fritzler.

There are four editions:

■ Extraordinary Women Mug filled with chocolate, beauty products, coffee, tea, and energy bar, lip balm, toffee bar and more, for $35

■ Limited Edition Enstrom’s Mug filled with Enstrom’s Toffee Bars, Chocolate Bars and Boxed Truffles for $50

■ Travel mug for hot and cold beverages, with goodies for $20

■ The Extraordinary Women Collectible Mug for $15.

The mugs are on sale through May 17. To order, call 244-0436 or visit

Thunder Mountain Camera Club is now meeting at a new location. Meetings are at 
7 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month at Larchwood Inns, 2845 N. 15th St.

The monthly competition results will be reviewed and discussed this Tuesday.

Call Kathleen at 260-7488 for information.

The Fruita Monument High School class of 1973 is looking for classmates for its 40-year reunion.

Contact Mitzi at 242-0815 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Fraternal Order of Eagles 595 plans a bowling tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday to benefit victims of Huntington’s disease. 

Cost for the event at Orchard Mesa Lanes, 295 27 Road, is $20 for three games of bowling, shoe rental, after-bowling snacks at the Eagles Aeries Home, 1675 U.S. Highway 50, and raffles. Call 242-6004.

Submit your Planner and community news items by email to, by fax at 244-8578, or by mail to P.O. Box 668, Grand Junction, CO 81502. Items to be considered for Your Town should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event.


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