Proud Military Parents and Supporters host Coffee with a Veteran


Photos by Marie Mccolm On Veterans Day, the Proud Military Parents and Supporters group hosted its first-ever Coffee with a Veteran event at the Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake. Drift Away Coffee provided coffee to people at the Coffee with a Veteran event at the Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake on Veterans Day. The event was organized by the Proud Military Parents and Support group.

MONTE VISTA — On Veterans Day, the Proud Military Parents and Supporters group hosted its first-ever “Coffee with a Veteran,” event at the Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake. The event was open to the public.

Group founder Kelly Avila spoke about the event.

“This is just going great,” she said. “It’s great to be able to talk to the Veterans out here at Homelake. It’s exciting to listen to their stories. I have two kids in the service also. My daughter is in the National Guard, and my son is in the Army. We are really excited to be able to do things for the Veterans and we hope that we can do more for them later as well. This is just the start. We are hoping to do this annually, too.”

Proud Military Parent Michelle Velasquez said, “It’s great to see all the Veterans out here participating. We are looking forward to it getting bigger and better every year.”

Ronald Simmons, of the Proud Military Parents said his son is in the military and helped at center when he was in Boy Scouts.

“I remember him saying those guys over there have the neatest stories. The folks out here can tell everyone a lot about the service,” Simmons said.

Drift Away Coffee was selling coffee. Ivette Atencio, who is the LOR Foundation Monte Vista officer, was at the event as the foundation helped sponsor the event.

At least 25 people attended the event. Many of the Veterans who live at the center sat near the Drift Away Coffee trailer drinking coffee and eating donuts and cookies.

George Blake is a Veteran who lives at the center.

“I am 102 years old, and I feel 102 years old,” he stated with a chuckle. Blake said that he lived in Salida for 40 years before he moved to Monte Vista. “I am enjoying my coffee this morning.”

Blake was stationed at Pearl Harbor when the attack occurred.

Joseph Marcelino served in the military for 15 years. He was stationed in many different places including Fort Lewis, Germany, Korea, and Desert Storm. He was in Intel Communications, and he really enjoyed his service time.

“I left the Army as a Staff Sargent. My dad and my brother were both in the Army too. I feel like I followed in my dad’s footsteps and went into the Army also,” he said.

Tom Jones served for 6 years. He said he served all over — the San Franscico area, Alaska, Turkey, and spent a year in Vietnam.

“I had a good time I suppose. I graduated from high school, and it was just that time. Back then you either get drafted or you could join,” he said. “I worked for a little while and then I joined. I worked on aircrafts in the service, that was hard, but I did it; I was a big machine mechanic. My favorite part of being in the service was traveling and meeting different people. I have been here in the Valley since 1997. I have my son and my daughter out here, they graduated from here. This is one of the nicer places in the world. This is definitely my home. My wife passed away about a year ago. My family doesn’t have to worry about me here. All they have to worry about is visiting.”

Alberto Cruz spoke about being a part of the Submarine Service Crew.

“My favorite part was being out in the submarine,” Cruz said. “I was a single dad, so I left the submarine service to be a father. I loved serving, it was the pleasure of my life.”

Homelake Director of Admissions and Marketing Pam Self was excited about the coffee with the Veteran event.

“This morning is absolutely incredible,” Self said. “To see the fellowship of the Veterans here, this is just a very special morning. This is such a special event with the weather and the sunshine. I want to thank the Proud Military Parents and Support group for bringing this in, the LOR Foundation for all their help and Drift Away for all the coffee.”

For more information about the event, visit the Proud Military Parents and Supporters Facebook page.

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