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July 13, 2001

The Pueblo Chieftain Online

Sterner to chair state vets board

By DENNIS DARROW
The Pueblo Chieftain 

Home of Heroes co-founder Doug Sterner will serve as the new chairman for the Colorado State Board of Veterans Affairs, members decided Wednesday in Denver.

The seven-member board advises Gov. Bill Owens on veterans affairs, helping oversee the development of hospitals, nursing homes, cemeteries and other veterans services.

This fall, the group will also take on the new job of an administering a special fund for veterans health services. The money - as much as $250,000 the first year - comes from Colorado's tobacco settlement.

"It is for direct services such as transportation in outlying counties. For instance, we can purchase a van to carry veterans to where they receive services," Sterner said.

For information on the grant program call Sterner at 564-1755.

Sterner said the veterans board also wants to develop a statewide Operation Recognition program where World War II veterans who dropped out of high school can go back to receive an honorary diploma.

Central High School in Pueblo conducted such a ceremony this past spring. Nationally, six states have such policies on a statewide basis, Sterner said.

The program brings more patriotic education into schools while honoring World War II veterans and other military personnel, he said.

"Where it's done in other states, they have large school assemblies and they are emotional events. The children respond to the veterans as heroes," Sterner said.

As co-founder of the Home of Heroes campaign in Pueblo, Sterner started a periodic series of school assemblies in the Pueblo area featuring Medal of Honor recipients.

Pueblo is the childhood home of four Medal recipients.

Sterner, a Vietnam War veteran, avid military researcher and publisher of the history-rich HomeOfHeroes.com, was appointed to the veterans affairs board in January 1999 by Owens.

Among his achievements on the board, he worked with the group to schedule more meetings outside Denver, including two meetings in the Pueblo area.

Among his achievements on the board, he worked with the group to schedule more meetings outside Denver, including two meetings in the Pueblo area.


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