Hi Todd! Can you introduce yourself and your background/ your story leading up to becoming the President of the Colorado Veterans Project?
I was proud to serve in the US Navy aboard the USS Arkansas. After my active-duty career, I transitioned into the Colorado National Guard while attending Fort Lewis College.
Once I graduated and started my civilian career, I wanted to continue serving the community through volunteering. I’ve been on the board of directors for multiple non-profits where I helped to organize multiple events to help raise funds for children focused charities.
I was motivated to get involved in the organization as a way to help create great events that raise money and awareness for Veterans issues in Colorado. There is a gap in funding to fully support our veteran community in this state, and it’s my goal to work with Colorado Veterans Project to fill that gap so that all Colorado Veterans can have access to the resources they need.
Can you tell us about what the Colorado Veterans Project mission is?
Colorado Veterans Project is one of the largest veteran-related nonprofits in Colorado, and our mission is to enhance pride and patriotism in all Coloradoans by building a stronger, more supportive community for our veterans. We do this in a few ways, but one of the most successful ways is through events that we host throughout the year that help to raise awareness and funds for local veterans and veteran organizations. Our events also provide opportunities for civilians to interact and dialogue with veterans in the community.
Can you tell us about past events, festivals, fundraisers you have created to help Veterans?
We just hosted our annual Denver Veterans Day Parade & Festival on Saturday, Nov. 5, which was a huge success! We had so many people come out to support the parade which included marching bands, floats, car clubs, military reenactments and even some local Denver dignitaries.
We also just had our annual Denver Veterans Day Run; it was a blast. Participants chose between doing a 5k or a 10k and could participate in person or virtually. Everyone who participated received a commemorative medal regardless of if they ran in person or virtually.
We also had our Let Freedom Swing Golf Tournament in September where we raised $34,000 to help local Colorado veterans.
Are there any upcoming events or fundraisers that you’d like to promote and let our readers know about? ?
Looking ahead to next year, we’ll host the Memorial Day Run & March, the annual Freedom 4-Miler over Independence Day weekend and our newest event, the Let Freedom Swing golf tournament in the fall.
How can folks donate to the Colorado Veterans Project?
Todd, we know you’re a lifelong Colorado resident. Why Do you feel Denver / Colorado is a good place to live?
My military travels took me across the country and around the world, but Colorado was always going to be my home. While Denver is a “big” city, it still has found a way to feel like a smaller welcoming community where people want to come together to help and support one another. Of course, we can’t overlook the amazing beauty of our state and the many opportunities we have here to enjoy the outdoors. I loved the being on the sea in the Navy, but my heart will always be in the mountains.
Which neighborhood did you eventually choose to call home? And why?
We found a house in Congress Park, which is one of the old neighbors just outside of downtown Denver. We’re just 10 minutes from Coors Field, but it has a laid-back vibe that filters out the hustle of the city. The food and fun in our area seems endless and we are able to walk our kids to school most mornings.
How would you describe the personality of Denver? What does Denver need to do to help Veterans?
Denver has a friendly personality. I have always gotten the impression that the people of Denver will step up and help when there is a need in our community. This type of kindness is not rare in Colorado, and it’s great to see that mindset has not been completely lost. At Colorado Veterans Project, we’ve enjoyed the fantastic support from the Denver community to help ensure our Veterans are able to thrive after service. One of the biggest aspects we focus on is giving civilians, Veterans and active-duty service members a chance to come together at our events and get to know each other. If we can continue to build understanding within the community around the unique challenges our veterans face, it will be easier to overcome those challenges.
What Colorado Veteran Owned Businesses do you think people should support and know about?
We work with a variety of local veteran owned businesses and have many resources available on our website for veterans. Our organization has supported many worthy Veterans organizations, including Colorado Veterans Resource Coalition’s Crawford House, Special Forces Foundation, Care and Share Food Bank, Stripes to Bars, Operation Equine, Healing Warriors and Comitis Crisis Center, to name a few