MONTE VISTA — Once a year, Homelake veterans are honored with a special breakfast at the picnic grounds in Rock Creek.
Staff members get up before sunrise and begin cooking at the picnic grounds. The Colorado Veterans Community Center of Homelake residents ride in multiple buses to the breakfast. This year's event was on Aug. 31.
Admissions and Marketing Director Pam Self talked about the breakfast and how it was such a neat event to be a part of.
“This is an annual event that we do,” Self said. “I have been here for 15 years now, and the only year we did not do this was that first year that COVID hit, summer of 2020. The residents and staff get so excited. This has been a tradition for a long time, and from what I have heard from others, it’s probably been a tradition for 35 years or more. We call it the Rock Creek Breakfast. We go up to the group Campsite. We have a fire in the fire pit. In the old days, we did do the cooking over the fire. We also still make cowboy coffee on the campfire.”
Self also spoke about how many of the Homelake residents have been going for a number of years to the breakfast. She was excited that there were new residents who had gone up for the first time this year.
“We were excited to have new residents come up. We are also amazed by the amount that everyone eats,” Self said. “Our residents get those good appetites, with the air up there, the smell of the food, it just makes you hungry. One of our new residents this year, that lives in the cottages, commented that he was amazed to see so many people from every different department there. All the cooks were actually from other departments this year, as we didn’t have anyone go up from our culinary department at all this year. The resident stated how he was amazed at how good the food was, and how well the staff worked together to put on this wonderful breakfast for the residents.”
Self also spoke about how the center does lots of things for the residents every year, but this by far is one of her favorites for the residents.
“It’s just a great event. We had about 26 residents total attend the breakfast,” Self said. “We brought our handicap accessible busses, and you know many of the residents who attended were in wheelchairs, but the fact that they still get to go up into the National Forest and have a great morning and breakfast and visit with friends. It's really wonderful.”
Self said that it's nice to be in the forest, with nobody in a rush to leave and all the veterans sharing stories of when they went camping, or fishing. Self said that three buses went up, along with a pickup truck to help carry wheelchairs or other items that any of the veterans needed.
“My favorite part of the breakfast though, is seeing the smiles on the veterans faces, and seeing how well the residents eat,” Self said. “I also love to hear the residents share their reminiscing memories, and stories from when they got to camp, or their favorite things to eat while camping too. All the pictures that we take, and they take up there. These things are my favorite part of the breakfast.”