By Joel Hillan


JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Colorado state lawmakers voted unanimously this year to rename C-470 from West Bowles Avenue to South Platte Canyon Road the Dave Sanders Memorial Highway. Sanders was the teacher who was killed along with 12 students during the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.

Dave Sanders (credit: Coni Sanders)

The decision to rename the highway caught the attention of Columbine survivor Jared Gates.

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“One of Dave’s daughters said that it’s like the highway is going to give a big hug to the Columbine community and that touched me quite a bit.”

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Jared watched as fundraising for the signage to rename the highway initially did well, but when it stalled, he decided to step in and help.

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“What Columbine has taught me is that every moment of life is precious and whether it’s good or bad, it should be treasured so everything that I do kind of has that in the back of my mind.”

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Jared forges flowers from steel using skills he first acquired 20 years ago in Patti Nielson’s art class at Columbine High School.

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“This is all sheet metal, just flat sheet metal that I cut out and forge into different shapes.”

He cuts, welds and colorizes the metal into Rebel Roses and Columbines.

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“It’s not only the state flower, but it’s a symbol of faith, hope, love and a resolve to win.”

A portion of the proceeds from each metal flower he sells will go to the fund.

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“It’s going to be an accomplishment; it’s going to big win. He was a hero; he gave his life for my classmates.”

And when all the money is raised for the signage, he’ll keep giving, with proceeds going to the Columbine Memorial.

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The flowers are for sale on Jared’s website or in person at his booth at the Renaissance Festival.

LINK: Wild Steel Rose

Joel Hillan

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