Sen. Udall serves KP duty, hikes refurbished trail on monument

U.S Sen. Mark Udall, wearing the apron, center, pulls dish duty Monday at the Catholic Outreach Soup Kitchen in Grand Junction and takes a little ribbing from longtime volunteer Louise Dixon, left. Volunteer Dave Glew, right, instructs the senator on how to handle the steady stream of dirty dishes.

Only a few people at Grand Junction’s soup kitchen recognized him, but Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., donned a waterproof apron and scrubbed dishes after lunch Monday.

Udall’s visit on Labor Day included a stop at Colorado National Monument and then it was on to Olathe to visit with the owners of Tuxedo Corn.

Sister Karen Bland, executive director of Catholic Outreach, took a moment to tell Udall about a plan to create housing for homeless veterans. The project is waiting for the results of grant funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I leave here with that as a homework assignment,” Udall said after the conversation. “They’ve done all the effort, but I could help with a little bit of support.”

Udall said he wanted to visit the homeless center after hearing so much about the good work being done there.

Udall serves on the Senate committees of Armed Services and Energy and Natural Resources.

Earlier Monday, Udall visited with officials and trail crews at Colorado National Monument, touring work funded by stimulus dollars.

Since 2009, the monument has received $253,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with the money going to enhance four of its trails.

Udall was also questioned about the possibility of changing the status from a national monument to a national park. National park designations are decided by Congress, and proposals must meet specific criteria. Colorado National Monument celebrates its centennial next year.

“He seemed very interested,” said Colorado National Monument Superintendent Joan Anzelmo.


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