Efforts underway to honor Craig Medal of Honor recipient



Larry Neu


Courtesy Photo

William Adams

A “heroic American.” An “inspiration to every citizen.”

A man who showed “conspicuous gallantry.”

Craig resident Larry Neu contends those are all accurate descriptions of Major William E. Adams.

But, they aren’t Neu’s words.

They were said by Congressman Scott Tipton in mid-February when reading Adams’ accomplishments into the U.S. Congressional Record.

Adams, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, was killed in action in 1971 while trying to evacuate wounded soldiers from a hostile area in the Kontum Province of Vietnam. For his actions, the former Craig resident was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor — the highest honor a veteran can receive after risking his or her life in combat.

“Mr. Speaker, it is my sincere honor to stand and pay tribute to a heroic American who was awarded our nation’s highest honor for his conspicuous gallantry in the Kontum Province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam,” Tipton read into the record. “Major William Edward Adams is an inspiration to every citizen of our great nation and a reminder to all Americans that some will sacrifice everything to preserve our way of life.”

In a news release, Tipton, R-Cortez, said it was for those reasons he introduced legislation hoping to rename the Craig VA Telehealth Outreach Clinic after Adams on April 15.

“I hope that this much deserved recognition of Major Adams will ensure that his memory lives on, and that the people of Craig may continue to celebrate the life of this true American hero,” Tipton said in the release.

That recognition hasn’t come easy or fast, said Neu, who is a Vietnam veteran and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 quartermaster.

Neu has been working to honor Adams locally for about two years.

“Bill Adams didn’t receive the recognition in his hometown community that he should have,” he said. “It all started with the naming of (Sandrock Elementary) and after they decided not to do that, I just set off on a mission to do something bigger and better.”

Last year, in May, the state legislature passed a resolution to rename the portion of Colorado Highway 13 that runs through Moffat County the “Maj. William Adams Medal of Honor Highway.”

Neu said four signs were placed along the highway to make travelers aware of the road’s name. The highway was formally dedicated in November with Adams’ wife, Sandra, and family in attendance.

Former Congressman John Salazar introduced a bill to rename the Craig VA clinic after Adams, but Salazar lost a re-election bid to Tipton.

“These clinics are scattered all over the United States and a number of years ago, someone suggested that they be named after someone significant involved with the community,” Neu said. “(Adams) was just a logical choice for Craig. He’s the only Medal of Honor winner from here.”

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., sponsored legislation introduced Feb. 14 to rename the clinic after Adams with co-sponsor Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. The bill has been stuck in the committee on Veterans’ Affairs since.

“This thing just happened out of the blue as far as I’m concerned because I had not contacted Udall or Bennet, either one,” Neu said, noting Tipton’s legislation was a surprise.

Neu said he was hesitant to put too much stock in the two pieces of legislation even though he appreciated the efforts.

“Well, you never know how the wheels of government are going to turn,” he said. “I’ve been working on this for sometime — I’m not going to sit back and hold my breath. I certainly hope it is going to take place, but until then, we’ll continue on with our planning toward our local veterans memorial.”

That memorial, Neu said, will include a Vietnam-era decommissioned helicopter, which the VFW post has been approved to receive, he said. The helicopter will be the centerpiece of the memorial and be dedicated to Adams, but Neu was unsure how much longer of a wait it would be for it.

“Hopefully, it won’t be too long,” he said.

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David Moore 6 years ago

How about something do-able on the local level. The road to the hospital is generically named "Hospital Loop Road". True, it is a road, that forms a loop, and there just happens to be a hospital located at the top of it. Not sure who was responsible, but with all due respect I don't feel much creative thought went into the naming of the road(which was done before construction began if memory serves me right). How about, since the hospital name, Memorial Hospital, is dedicated to our servicemen and veterans, that the road to it be renamed "Adams Loop" or "Adams Road" or "William Adams Avenue", or "William Adams Loop". Something like this would be fitting of this hero and more worthy of the hospitals namesake, which is properly dedicated to veterans just like him. Just a thought.


wellwell 6 years ago

The name of our hospital in Craig does have an unusual name for a hospital. I was here for many years before finding out the origin of the name and how honorable that name is in memory of those in wars.

The same can be said of Victory Way and its significance.

With these two historically significant structures we have the oppurtunity to start heritage tourism. It would show that we value our town and heritage. The townspeople would have something to see and understand about this great community. Embracing our heritage need not be a boast of who made the town by listing names only. The importance comes in the history of the highway, the structure, the tree, the river, the muddy creek that flows through town, the history of the house that has a historic sign at the house.

The Simmons Rooms may be ending its life as a former drug house, but it may have been quite something when it was first in use. Is this a sample of grabbing history before it is gone?

Luckily, the Marcia Car was saved and well documented for its history.

We have a park full of wood sculptures that are well marked who made the sculputure and what date. There is no indication the history of the reason that the sculptures were started. Grab the history. It has the same value as the sculpture.

Make our history important to our town. It is what will be remembered and enjoyed by us each day and informative for our visitors. This information is by discovery rather than a throwaway brochure and oft used. Make history important! Think about the railroad depot. So many others!


David Moore 6 years ago

Funny you mention Simmons Rooms. I was very young, probably 7 or 8 when my grandmother would take me over there so she could visit her friend, Mrs. Simmons. I don't remember a whole lot about the place, a friendly older guy that would give me gum(nothing weird), the food Mrs. Simmons cooked for us, and being bit in the butt by her dingo. I rode by on my bike with the kid the other day and told her the dingo story as we looked around the house. Yet another part of history that will disappear shortly.

My idea about the hospital loop road is just that, an idea. I realize the expense that the hospital would have to undergo to change everything associated with the current address and it is quite unlikely that it will be renamed on that notion alone. I wish they(whoever named it) would have thought it through a little, perhaps held a contest, something more creative than slapping it with such a generic name. Kind of like calling Yampa Avenue "Downtown Street" or Ledford Street "Senior Citizen Boulevard". It is a small price to deal with compared to the sacrifice that Major Adams undertook, which was his life, and would bring it full circle with the meaning behind the name of the hospital. A small honor for such a large hero, something that big government would not need to be involved in, this can happen at the local level. There is a lot of history in this town, to bad most of it is rotting away.


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