Joseph T. Koonce Memorial Fund planned |

Joseph T. Koonce Memorial Fund planned

Guest author

— Many people have been inquiring and expressing a desire to contribute toward the memorial for Joe Koonce. It is a well-known fact that Joe’s true love was for the Yampa River and specifically kayaking the river. At first we thought about having donations sent to the Yampa River Legacy Project or the Yampa River Education Initiative of Colorado State Parks. However, after careful consideration, we decided that whatever money is donated needs to be dedicated to a specific program or cause with Joe’s name attached to it. We have therefore decided to set up the “Joseph T. Koonce Memorial Fund” at Community First National Bank, 139 E. Victory Way in Craig, Colorado 81625. The money generated will go toward the following four projects and/or programs.

Joe Koonce Memorial A group of friends and family members wish to erect a tangible, yet discreet memorial for Joe. Because of his love of the river and for kayaking, many of us have thought that it should be erected, along the Yampa River, most ideally in the vicinity of Cross Mountain. However, because there may be a number of logistical obstacles to overcome, his friends and family are open to suggestions.

Joe Koonce Memorial Scholarship Joe’s family and friends thought it would be very appropriate to work with Trapper Mining, Inc. to establish an annual scholarship (preferably vocational) in Joe’s name. If the dollars generated are not sufficient to fund a scholarship on an annual basis, perhaps some sort of service award could be developed because of Joe’s 18+ years of service at Trapper Mine.

Joe Koonce River Appreciation Program It is the belief of the group that Joe would welcome the instruction of others in the sport of kayaking. Joe actively participated in teaching others how to kayak. We believe that by working cooperatively with Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley Legacy Education Initiative, it may be possible to get a grant to develop a program in Craig for teaching kids not only how to kayak but how to appreciate and respect the Yampa River.

Joe Koonce Memorial Trail There is currently a local trail project which we believe would be ideal to support and request the name of Joe Koonce be attached to it. The trail is still in the discussion and negotiation phase; however should it come to fruition, we will volunteer time, money and resources in exchange for the trail being named “Joe Koonce Memorial Trail”.

The friends and family of Joe Koonce extend their sincere thanks to all of the wonderful people in Craig who have expressed their concern and care. We are sincerely appreciative of the desire many of you have to donate to some sort of memorial fund and apologize for the delay in putting this memorial account in place. Our shock and grief were so great that we could not even fathom how to appropriately memorialize someone who was so incredibly precious to us. We are still trying to come up with that perfect symbolization and welcome new ideas. Should you have questions, suggestions or ideas, please feel free to call either Beth Koonce at 824-8896 or Sparky Gianinetti at 824-4401 ext. 125 to talk.