by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- They ride day after day in the hot sun on horseback.
Coast-to-Coast Trail Riders consists of five dedicated people who know firsthand the trials and tribulations of war. They appreciate people along the way like George Birrer of Walsenburg. Birrer gave them an area of his campground to rest and feed their horses.
Jef Keegan and his 18- year-old son Patrick have teamed up with Mona Hester, Chay Larson and Mike Proscia to raise money to aid soldiers with physical or mental wounds from the ordeals of war. It’s called the Wounded Warrior Project.
The group started their journey from King George, Virginia and they are riding to California. They average about 20 miles per day. Along the way, they are taking donations in person or online to bring awareness and money to the project. The premier of a movie called Warm Wind will focus on the problems soldiers are facing when coming back from war. The group will be in California for that premier.
Mike Proscia spent 19½ years as a soldier. He was wounded nine times within six months by land mines. He is on 100% disability for those injuries, but he is grateful to still have his life. He moves around with a cane and the scars of what war can do to a person both physically and mentally. He drives the truck that carries the supplies.
Jef Keegan is a veteran who served over 20 years. His son Patrick just graduated from high school last May and is taking time to learn about the plight of injured soldiers. He hopes to get a job after the ride and eventually become an equine dentist.
Mona Hester is retired from the Air Force and a mother of six children. Three are dead, one in the Iraq War. She is a Gold Star Mom, a woman who has lost a child in war. Mona also had two grandkids serving their country.
Chay Larson is a Blue Star Mom, which signifies she has children serving in the armed forces. Her son has been to Iraq twice and is now facing a third deployment, this time to Afghanistan.
The Coast-to-Coast Riders are taking Hwy 160 on a route to Lake Havasu, Arizona and on into California. You can follow their trek on Facebook by going to Coast-to-Coast Trail Riders or on the website at www.CoasttoCoastTrailRiders.org. If you wish to donate by check or have questions, go to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-566-1366.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward