USS Colorado Committee held their fund-raising Gala and Auction on September 17th at Charles Schwab’s Event Center at their new campus in Lone Tree. About 180 persons attended the event including the three visiting crew members.
The event opened with a cocktail hour at the hosted bar. The weather cooperated with a beautiful September day, allowing open access from the event center onto a terrace with spectacular views of the mountains. About 40 silent auction items were available for people to bid on. The Committee incorporated an on-line auction function that allowed persons not able to attend the Gala to bid on silent auction items.
The emcee for the evening was Steffan Tubbs, KOA morning show radio host and President of Mountain Time Media whose recent movie production ACRONYM: The Cross Generational Battle Withe PTSD focuses on this challenging problem facing many of our veterans. Steffan has been a great supporter of USS Colorado since the very beginning.
The event’s keynote speaker was Walter Borneman, historian and author ( www.walterborneman.net ). He is the author of the national bestseller The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King — The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea. His most recent book is MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific. He gave a compelling talk weaving in history of previous USS Colorado’s, submarine traditions and the future USS Colorado (SSN 788).
The Executive Officer, LCDR Stephen Col surprised the two crew members he brought with him by presenting them each with awards. STS1(SS) Michael McKenna was awarded Sailor of the Quarter for PCU Colorado and MMA2(SS) Eric Robinson was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for service while on temporary duty to USS Illinois (SSN 786).
In addition to donating use of their event center, Charles Schwab provided support in numerous ways. Fifteen volunteers from the company helped with the auction and merchandise sales throughout the evening. Individual Schwab employees were also participants in the event, purchasing tickets and tables, donating auction items and bidding both during the silent and live auction phases.
Scott Alexander of the Kildow Auction Company donated his time and expertise in conducting the live auction. There were ten items up for bid including a golf foursome at the private Sanctuary golf course, a two day John Fielder photo workshop, signed Broncos memorabilia, a special USS Colorado edition Kota Longboard, a special USS Colorado commemorative edition 44 magnum Henry rifle and a model of the submarine mounted on decking from the battleship USS Colorado (BB 45) which saw action in WWII and was decommissioned in 1947.
We were honored to have many veterans present, including two WWII vets, Andy Palenchar and Sonny Coleman and a Korean War vet, Loyd Bates. Also in attendance was Broncos football legend Billy Thomson, a 13 year veteran with the team and a Ring of Fame honoree.
In addition to Sponsorship by Schwab we had some of our other sponsors present. Richmond American Homes Foundation, the presenting sponsor for Commissioning, was present and invited several veterans to join them. Left Hand Brewing once again supplied the beer for the event and Balistreri Vineyards supplied the wine.
A core group of committee members were instrumental in putting the event together, especially the Event Planner, Natalie Sanderson.
All in all it was a great evening, raising about $30,000 towards the Commissioning Committee’s goal.
For more pictures of the event visit here.