Three generations of military service honored
Three generations of a Western Slope family is being recognized for military service.
In a tribute to individual veterans, local organizations are showing support and respect with art, more specifically with hand carved canes.
For a few of the most recent recipients its not just about military service, it’s about family.
"We always have been a patriotic family," Veteran Raymond Hotchkiss said.
His son and fellow veteran, Kevin Hotchkiss, agrees. He says, "My dad was military and my grandpa was military."
For decades the Hotchkiss family has been devoting their lives to their country.
"I was one of the original students in ROTC. My dad had been in the Navy and I said to myself, that's what I’m going to do," Raymond Explained.
Kevin says,” I just remember playing in my dad's combat boots. When he told me I could enlist in the guard when I was 17 I went for it."
Combined, these three men have served across the globe. This week they were honored, together, with the same award.
"We presented three canes to a son, a father, and a grand father," Gary Gratton, with Black Canyon Wood Carvers, said.
Eagle head canes are a tradition that date back to the Civil War. They’re hand carved by other local veterans and inscribed with name, rank, and unit.
"It just means a lot to be able to be honored with the same thing that my dad was honored because he's basically the footsteps that I’ve always wanted to follow,” Kevin said.
Each cane is different and the goal of several local wood carving groups is to make one for every nominated veteran.
"They just love it,” Gratton said. “They’re just so proud of it that it hangs over the mantle or something."
For the Hotchkiss family, its a gift representing sacrifice and how much they love the USA.
"It’s really a cool thing,” Kevin said. “I was never expecting to get something like this."
If you are a veteran, you know a western Colorado area veteran you would like to nominate, or would like more information click here.
You can also download an application in PDF format for your convenience.
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