Praise for Yuma High School and its voter-registration efforts

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with Navil Babonoyaba and Andrea Hermosillo, two Yuma High School graduates who got 96 percent of their class to register to vote during the last school year. Yuma High was honored during an awards ceremony Friday. (SOS photo/Judd Choate)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with Navil Babonoyaba and Andrea Hermosillo, two Yuma High School graduates who got 96 percent of their class to register to vote during the last school year. Yuma High was honored during an awards ceremony Friday. (SOS photo/Judd Choate)

Two of Colorado’s top leaders shared their high school experiences when honoring Yuma High School on Friday for its effort in registering its seniors to vote.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner — a 1993 Yuma High grad — addressed students at an afternoon assembly at Yuma High School.

“It’s easy to participate but a lot of folks don’t do that. Instead they complain. They whine,” Williams said. “But you have a couple of students here who took some leadership and they did something different. They got their peers registered to vote.

“I’m just ecstatic to be here at Yuma High School.”

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Medal of Honor recipient inspires at Healing Our Heroes event

Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser and Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry at the Healing our Heroes gala Friday in Denver. Petry was the keynote speaker.
Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser and Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry at the Healing our Heroes gala Friday in Denver. Petry was the keynote speaker.

For the second time in my life, I’ve shaken the hand of a Medal of Honor recipient.

The first time was in the early 1980s when I worked for The Gallup Independent in Gallup, N.M., and got to know Heroshi Miyamura. The Gallup native, known as “Hershey,” in 1951 in Korea killed more than 50 enemy soldiers, including hand-to-hand fighting with a bayonet, while ordering his men to fall back.

Hershey Miyamura.
Hershey Miyamura.

The next time was at the Healing our Heroes luncheon Friday in Denver when I met former Army Ranger Leroy Petry, who also is a New Mexico native. I didn’t realize until I went to shake his hand that he lost his right one while throwing a live grenade away from his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan in 2008.

Petry served as the keynote speaker for the Healing our Heroes gala, which raised money to help injured veterans receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

“I thank God every morning that I’m here,” Petry said. “So many paid the ultimate price or suffered horrific injuries.”

Read moreMedal of Honor recipient inspires at Healing Our Heroes event

Healing Our Heroes: a benefit luncheon to help our veterans

Healing our Heroes gala.
Healing our Heroes gala.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is an honorary chairman for this year’s Healing Our Heroes gala, which raises money to help injured veterans receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

The benefit luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a. m. Friday at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in the Sewell Grand Ballroom. The keynote speaker will be retired Sgt. Leroy Petry, a U.S. Army ranger who was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Obama — only the second time since the Vietnam War a living soldier has been the recipient.

Healing our Heroes is a program of the Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Association for Brain Injuries. On its website, the association has posted videos of veterans who have received the hyperbaric oxygen therapy. “He seems more hopeful,” one wife said after her husband’s treatment.

The Healing our Heroes program pays for the treatments and provides housing for out-of-town veterans while they are receiving treatments in Louisville.

Other honorary co-chairs of the luncheon are Congressman Ken Buck of Windsor and Mike Coffman of Aurora. To inquire about tickets to the event, contact Kristin@thestarboardgroup.com.

Secretary Wayne Williams’ Denver Broncos shirt elicits cheers in D.C.

Congressman Ken Buck, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Buck chief of staff Mac Zimmerman at Buck's DC office on Tuesday. His staff let out a cheer when they saw Williams' T-shirt.
Congressman Ken Buck, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Buck chief of staff Mac Zimmerman at Buck’s D.C. office on Tuesday. Buck’s staff let out a cheer when they saw Williams’ T-shirt.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, right, and his wife Jeanne, had some fun when they saw fellow Colorado Springs Republican Wayne Williams sporting a Denver Broncos championship shirt.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, right, and his wife Jeanie had some fun when they saw fellow Colorado Springs Republican Wayne Williams sporting a Denver Broncos championship shirt.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams missed today’s Super Bowl parade in Denver, but he got a warm welcome in Washington, D.C., with his Denver Broncos championship T-shirt.

The parade route went right by Williams’ office at 1700 Broadway — he captured a good picture of the orange- and blue-stripe painted on the street for his Facebook page — but he was headed to Washington for the National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference.

After he landed, Williams stopped by all seven congressional offices. In most cases, the representatives had had already headed to the floor for a nighttime vote, but the secretary did manage to catch up with two lawmakers, Republican Ken Buck of Windsor and Republican Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs.

Williams also had a chance to meet Buck’s new chief of staff, Mac Zimmerman, on his first day on the job. Zimmerman grew up in Denver but has lived in Grand Junction and previously worked for Congressmen Scott McInnis and Tom Tancredo, and for state Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry.

Zimmerman once worked with Buck’s previous chief of staff, former state Sen. Greg Brophy.

Miles, mascot of the Denver Broncos, enjoys today's Super Bowl parade in Denver.
Miles, mascot of the Denver Broncos, enjoys today’s Super Bowl parade in Denver.