Colorado election staffer witnesses historic Armenian election

Steve Bouey and his observation team partner, Magda, from Poland. (Steve Bouey photo)

Steve Bouey, the campaign finance manager for the Colorado Secretary of State, just completed travel to his 74th country.

Bouey felt right at home in Armenia. The altitude in the capital city of Yerevan is only 1,000 feet lower than that of Denver’s famous Mile High mark. And Armenia’s landscape is filled with mountains and picturesque forests.

As an observer for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Bouey has traveled abroad dozens of times and met hundreds of foreigners who are passionate about establishing and maintaining free and fair elections.

This was the first election of its kind in Armenia. A constitutional referendum approved in December 2015 changed the government from a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary system.

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Secretary Wayne Williams: “That’s the wonder of America”

Friends and families of immigrants taking the oath to become U.S. citizens record the moment. Secretary Wayne Williams is to the left. (SOS photo)
First Lady Melania Trump became a U.S. citizen in 2006.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams congratulated 50 immigrants from 28 countries on becoming Americans during a ceremony Monday in Centennial, telling them there are “very few limits as to what you can do.”

He told the story of Knavs family in Slovenia. Their daughter, who was born April 26, 1970, immigrated to the United States in 2001 and became a citizen five years later.

“In January she became the first lady of the United States,” Williams said. “So look to your left, look to your right. One of those people may be, in 11 years, first lady or first husband of the United States, just like Melania Trump.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen but that’s the wonder of America.”

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Today we honor our veterans

Tim Griesmer, right, graduated from West Point in 2002, the first class commissioned after 9/11. He flew helicopters during his two tours in Iraq. Griesmer is the legislative liaison for the Secretary of State.
Tim Griesmer, right, in Iraq in 2005 with the 101st Airborne Division. Griesmer is the legislative liaison for the Secretary of State.

By Joe Ingle and Lynn Bartels

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office is closed today for Veterans Day, which each year is celebrated on Nov. 11 and honors those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Here are the SoS employees who served in the military and what they shared about their experiences:

Tim Griesmer in administration served in the Army.

I graduated from West Point in 2002, the first class commissioned after 9/11. I finished flight school at Fort Rucker, AL, in 2004. I was a Air Cav Scout Pilot, flying the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. I then served a year on the Korean DMZ.

 I completed two tours in Iraq, from 2005-2006 and 2008-2009.  I was stationed at Fort Carson in 2007, which is how I came to Colorado. I separated in 2010 as a captain and moved to Denver.

The photo is of my team that I flew with on my first deployment to Iraq. One guy was lost in a later deployment to Afghanistan, one was killed in a training accident. It’s a reminder to me of the friends I made, the sacrifices service members make for their country, and the reason I continue to pursue a career of service.

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Special Olympics Colorado shares with Colorado Secretary of State’s Office

Colorado Secretary of State staffers Caleb Thornton, Kelsey Klau and Karen Tollefson participate in a timed word search relay as part of celebrating the Olympics and Special Olympics Colorado this week at the SOS office. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State staffers Caleb Thornton, Kelsey Klaus and Karen Tollefson participate in a timed word-search relay as part of celebrating the Olympics and Special Olympics Colorado this week at the SOS office. (SOS photo)

It’s been an Olympian kind of week at the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, complete with daily trivia about the international event and a fundraiser lunch for Special Olympics Colorado.

The office on Thursday watched a short presentation about Special Olympics Colorado and participated in the lunch.

“I was surprised to learn that many of the athletes have challenges with their health care and that Special Olympics is the world’s largest public health organization for people with intellectual disabilities,” staffer Kris Reynolds said.

“Special Olympics has the Healthy Athletes program, which educates athletes on healthy lifestyle choices and help them identify problems that may need, such as dental care. For example, on Sept. 17th Special Olympics Colorado has a flag football tournament and are asking for dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistance and dental students to volunteer to give free screenings.

Megan Toohey, director of development, athlete Kyle Visser and Victoria Paterson-Maiman, community partnerships manager, all from Special Olympics Colorado. (SOS picture)
Megan Toohey, director of development, athlete Kyle Visser and Victoria Paterson-Maiman, community partnerships manager, all from Special Olympics Colorado. (SOS picture)

“I thought I was educated about what Special Olympics did but after Thursday I realized I knew very little and I founds that I was amazed by the organization and its athletes.”

The staffers learned that athlete Kyle Visser learned to swim in three years and also participates in many other sports.

He spoke about his 16-year-involvement with the Special Olympics and the positive impact it has had on his life. The special-needs athlete competes in several events throughout the year.

The event was arranged by the SOS’ Employee Relations Committee. The ERC served hot dogs, chips, cookies and drinks for SOS employees, and donated $377 to Special Olympics.

“We provided an opportunity for members from different areas throughout the office to get together in share in a memorable experience,” staffer Abbas Montoya said. “I think that this epitomizes what the SOS ERC is all about.”

SOS staffer faces long recovery after SUV driver hits his bicycle

Brad Lang, a staffer with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, has been out of work since the driver of an SUV hit his bicycle. The beard is new as Lang can't shave himself. (Photo by Meg Lang)
Brad Lang, a staffer with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, has been out of work since the driver of an SUV hit his bicycle. The beard is new as Lang can’t shave himself. (Photo by Meg Lang)

By Julia Sunny

A bike helmet saved Brad Lang’s life.

The Colorado Secretary of State employee bikes to work on most summer days. On July 28, as he was pedaling westbound in the bike lane on East 23rd Avenue, a white SUV turning from 23rd on to Colorado Boulevard made a left-hand turn and plowed into Lang, who went flying and was knocked unconscious.

When Lang regained consciousness, the 37-year-old was in the emergency room at Denver Health Medical Center. He sustained multiple injuries, including a displaced and broken finger, a severely dislocated and broken elbow, two broken wrists, and a hairline fracture in one of his knees. He underwent surgery and spent 2½-days in the hospital.

“I feel very fortunate that my brain is in one piece and that I’m alive,” Lang said.

The impact was so strong it cracked his helmet in half but doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

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