AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A month ago three donated trees were stolen from the Colorado Freedom Memorial and now two new ones are taking root thanks to donations from the community.
With pride in his voice, John Harris talked about his son Blake, a Colorado native who joined the Army after high school.
“I never knew if he was going to be a vegetarian, a vegan or eat anything and everything,” said Harris.
Blake was killed in Iraq in 2007 and is one of roughly 6,000 names on the Colorado Freedom Memorial.
“I still have my good days and bad days thinking of him,” said Harris.
Harris comes to the memorial often to read his son’s name and was not pleased to hear about the recent thefts.
“It’s pretty bad when you steal from a veteran’s memorial,” said Harris.
“They had been out here since Christmas time for families to hang ornaments on,” said Memorial Foundation President Rick Crandall.
Crandall said the community’s response has been incredible. On Saturday morning the first donation came to pass — two 10 foot blue spruces from Huburt Aguirre’s Front Range Landscaping in Franktown.
“I’m very glad to be a part of this and donate these trees,” said Aguirre.
His older brother was killed in Vietnam.
“They sent him to Vietnam on his senior trip and my brother never returned. He was 19 when he died,” said Aguirre.
The foundation plans to eventually cover the memorial grounds with trees but for now is just thankful for the public reminder that honoring our veterans is paramount.
“I can’t imagine standing in front of a memorial, having 6,000 names up there of men and women who died in action and thinking ‘yeah let me just steal something from right here,’” said Crandall.
The investigation into who stole the trees and damaged the irrigation system is still ongoing.