School Board looking to recognize local war hero by renaming park



Courtesy Photo

Maj. William E. Adams

How to help

A community fund has been opened at Yampa Valley Bank, 435 Mack Lane, for donations for a proposed Maj. William E. Adams memorial.

Checks should be made payable to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265.

— Maj. William E. Adams will not have an elementary school named after him, but the Moffat County School Board is looking at other options to recognize the late Medal of Honor recipient.

At tonight's school board meeting, an idea will be presented regarding the proposed renaming of Breeze Park, on the 600 block of Breeze Street, after Adams, said Pete Bergmann, Moffat County School District superintendent.

When the School District was in the process of renaming its reorganized elementary school, many veterans and residents proposed that it be named in honor of Adams.

The School Board, however, decided to respect the process it had already established, which allowed elementary school students to vote on the name.

Adams' name came in third in the voting, losing to eventual winner Sandrock Elementary.

"There was a lot of discussion over what was the right thing to do because we wanted to honor the process and honor the vote of students," he said. "I know there is still a strong sentiment by a big portion of the community that we should recognize (Adams). I think the board agrees with that."

Adams, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was killed in May 1971 while attempting to evacuate wounded soldiers from a hostile area in Vietnam.

The School Board chose not to circumvent the process or undermine the vote of the students, Bergmann said.

Instead, Breeze Park, which Bergmann said was never officially named, is being offered up for renaming in honor of Adams.

"It's an opportunity for the School Board to demonstrate that they still can recognize William Adams for his heroism and his efforts for our country," Bergmann said.

Breeze Park is not the only option for supporters of an Adams memorial.

Larry Neu, a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 who has spearheaded the effort to recognize Adams, said that when the school name did not pan out, it motivated him to do something bigger and better.

"It is too little too late, and we're off on another track," he said about the School Board's potential offer of renaming the park.

Neu said he is hoping to create a veterans memorial with Adams as the centerpiece.

He said he already has received offers from two local businessmen offering downtown property for a memorial.

"We're working toward a life-size bronze sculpture of major Adams," he said. "And we're trying to appropriate a decommissioned helicopter from the government."

Bergmann said he anticipates the School Board will want to move forward with the park offer, however, and thinks the entire community agrees on the necessity of recognizing the local war hero.

"The common goal has already been established in the community," Bergmann said. "Recognition is long overdue, and everyone in the community is looking for the best way to recognize him and this is another option to consider."

Neu also said there is a strong sense of unity and support in the Adams matter.

"I fielded phone calls all weekend - from as far as Wyoming - from people upset about what the school had done and pledging their support with whatever project we would do," he said. "We've had a tremendous pledge of support from the community. I've already got sculptors calling me, and we haven't even gotten near that point yet."

However Adams is honored, Neu said the fact that Adams has gone 38 years without recognition needs to be rectified.

"It's not for him as much as for his family and people in the community who need something visual to remind us why we enjoy the things we do," he said. "To show us that there are people that make these sacrifices so we can enjoy this way of life."


grannyrett 7 years, 9 months ago

Why can't the school and Larry work together and name the park after Maj. Adams and put the statue and helicopter in the park. It seems as if there would be plenty of room there and what a memorial it would become.


lonelyone 7 years, 9 months ago

I think the Breeze Street park would be great, but if there is a good place downtown it would certainly be more visible to the public. The helicopter, I'm not to sure about. We had an old fighter airplane in our city park where I grew up and we had a lot of fun climbing on it and such, then it started to get vandalized and kids started getting hurt on it so it was hauled away. I can see the same thing happening with this in years to come. And I have to say it kind of bothers me that so many people are mad because the school board didn't over ride the votes of the students. They were given the choice to vote for what they wanted and they learned something in the process. What good could it have possibly shown those kids to have them vote and then someone with more power comes in and says sorry, it just doesn't count?!?!? Haven't we as adults, voting for things in the country gotten hopping mad for the very same thing. We've voted on something and then some group comes in and says it's not right that the majority wants this and gets it all messed up so our vote meant nothing and we are madder then hell over it! Let it go and figure out another way to honor Maj. Adams in a way that he deserves.


grannyrett 7 years, 9 months ago

lonely--You are right. The Breeze Street location is kind of out of the way. What about renaming the city park. There is so much going on there. Maybe the helicopter would be a little over the top. It's sad that so many people destroy tributes to our heroes. Shame they aren't taught respect.


John Kinkaid 7 years, 9 months ago

Use the new "park" just south of the Victory Way bridge. Lots of people will see it. Raise money, save up and build it with bronze.


j4mom7 7 years, 9 months ago

Excellent idea,'s in the perfect location for any- and everyone to see it as they come into Craig. Naming the park after Maj. Adams, to my mind, would be very appropriate - he earned it and he deserves it. The saying goes, "a veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to...America, for an amount of...up to and including my life." That is Honor. His check was cashed and the change he recieved was the Medal of Honor, the highest award the military can bestow. As far as I know, he is the only recipient to come from this area. A fitting tribute to him, and all veterans from Craig and Moffat county, would be the park, and a memorial plaque that lists them all, living as well as deceased.


lonelyone 7 years, 9 months ago

this is a bit off the subject, but did any of you read Ed's VA article today? A World War One Memorial has been covered by a box because someone doesn't like the cross with 53 thousand names on being on a national preserve! I think it is terrible that this Memorial may get torn down, if I read the article right, this is all because of the seperation between Church and State! If the high court agrees with this crap, then every memorial like this could be torn down. This make me very angry and I think we need to find a way to support some kind of cause to keep these things right where they stand at this very moment.


lonelyone 7 years, 9 months ago

I guess I should say that any memorial to honor our soldiers should be built and left to stand unharmed simply because of what these men and women have given to our country. This includes coming together to find a proper memorial for Maj. Adams and all other area vets.


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