Bill Harding: Soldiers Ride on Saturday |

Bill Harding: Soldiers Ride on Saturday

— The Northwest Colorado Snow Machine Club and the Colorado Snowmobile Association Soldiers Ride is Saturday.

This free, one-day snowmobile ride/tour is for disabled veterans, active duty personnel home on leave, or family members of active-duty military units, Reserves or Guard members. The local club and Elkhorn Winter Adventures are sponsoring this guided day tour in Northwest Colorado for up to three couples.

If you are eligible or know of a serviceman or woman home this weekend, contact Jan Tonso of NOWECOS at 824-5821.

Veterans mileage reimbursement up

New mileage reimbursement for service-connected veterans is now in effect. This increase was part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act for the fiscal year of 2008, so it is now law.

The increase was from 12 cents per mile to 28.5 cents per mile. So, if you have been receiving transport reimbursement funds from the VAMC reimbursement desk in Grand Junction, you must be getting this new amount for the distance that they have calculated from your home to hospital distance.

There is a service connection disability requirement in order to draw these funds, so check with the payout window in the VAMC to see if you qualify.

Feb. 1 is National Freedom Day

National Freedom Day is the U.S. observance honoring the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint resolution in Congress proposing the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery, to the U.S. Constitution on Feb. 1, 1865.

President Harry Truman signed a bill in 1948, proclaiming Feb. 1 as National Freedom Day. It is not a Federal holiday, so government offices and banks remain open. The creator of this holiday was a former slave who believed that there should be a day when freedom for all Americans is celebrated.

Presidents’ Day is the commonly used name for the official federal holiday designated for Washington’s Birthday, and is celebrated on the third Monday of February.

It is also the prominent variant among several names of coinciding state holidays. As the official title of this federal holiday, Washington’s Birthday was originally implemented in 1880 and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. It was the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen and was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, Feb. 22.

On Jan. 1, 1971, it was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. A draft of that Bill in 1968 would have renamed the holiday to honor both Washington and Lincoln, but when it was signed into law only Washington’s Birthday observance was moved.

In the late 1980s, with the push from advertiser lobbyists, the term Presidents’ Day began its current public appearance for merchandizing. The theme expanded the focus of the holiday to honor Abraham Lincoln and other Presidents. Lincoln’s birthday was never a federal holiday, so approximately a dozen states officially renamed their Washington observances as “Presidents’ Day,” “Washington and Lincoln Day,” or other such designations.

It is interesting to note that “Presidents’ Day” is not an all-inclusive term. While some states officially celebrate “Washington’s Birthday,” state laws also prescribe a governor’s proclamation honoring the presidents that came from their state.

Massachusetts recognizes four other Presidents. Alabama uniquely observes the day as “Washington and Jefferson Day.”

In Connecticut, Presidents’ Day is a federal holiday with Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, Feb. 12, as a state holiday.

In Virginia the holiday is legally known as “George Washington Day.”

CVSO office closure

As a head’s up, this office will be closed March 13 through March 25.

We will continue to transport, but will try to lighten the load during this period as I will be out of country with the CNCC Spring Break program. We will be addressing this issue with the medical appointment schedulers at Grand Junction’s VAMC to handle those appointments that must be made during this period.

For information on these programs and/or other veterans’ benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot). Call 970-824-3246 or use the fax 970-824-7108. Our e-mail address is The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.

Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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