Hour of Honor

The Mile High City is filled with remarkable people.  First responders who have bravely responded to scenes of immense tragedy; engineers and scientists who have built machines that landed on other worlds; veterans who have defended freedom around the world and teachers who educated this generations leaders.  EZ1430 would like to recognize the best among us, the workers and servants who make Denver special with an Hour of Honor.  If you know someone who makes a difference in the lives of others complete the nomination form below.  Honorees will spend an hour on the Breakfast Club with Rick Crandall where they’ll get to pick some of the songs, share their stories and receive recognition for serving others.  Hour of Honor, our way of shining the light on the day to day heroes who make us all better. 

Sponsored by: Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

 

September 2019 Hour of Honor Recipient – Pat Craig

(From the Wild Animal Sanctuary)

When Pat Craig was 19, he visited a friend who worked as a zoo groundskeeper in North Carolina. His friend showed him the back of zoo where tigers and lions sat in small cages far away from the crowds. They were “surplus” animals, meaning the zoo

had no place to put them.  Craig looked at the animals and was shocked by the scene. He didn’t think he would even put a dog in the cages where the lions and tigers lived. He climbed into his blue Chevy pickup truck, leaving the zoo behind in his rearview mirror as he returned home to Boulder, Colo.  But the animals had curled up in the forefront of his thoughts and there they lingered. “Every day, I kept thinking about them as I went back to school [at University of Colorado Boulder],” he says. “I thought, ‘How many people think like I do and are not doing anything about it?’  Today, he runs The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo., the world’s largest and oldest non-profit sanctuary dedicated exclusively to rescuing large carnivores that have been abused, abandoned or illegally kept. For 37 years, a big part of his work has been educating people, including visitors and government officials, about the captive wild animal problem in which thousands of exotic animals live in people’s garages and roadside shows, often horribly mistreated. But none of it would be possible without a small army of volunteers and critical donations, much of it from visitors.

This Summer EZ 1430 has been proud to support Pat and his team at the Wild Animal Sanctuary with our Wild Animal Pride campaign.  You can find more details on this website.  Thank you Pat Craig for your vision, your leadership and your compassion for animals.

August 2019 Hour of Honor Recipient – Janine Sijan

(From the Milwaukee Independent, Lee Matz)

The impact of America’s involvement in Vietnam reached beyond the combatants who fought in the Southeast Asian conflict, and touched the lives of families back home. In Milwaukee, Sylvester and Jane Sijan felt the echoes of the war for the decades that followed, over the loss of their son Lance.

While on a mission over Laos on November 9, 1967, Captain Lance P. Sijan ejected from his disabled McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom jet near North Vietnam. Despite suffering a skull fracture, a mangled right hand, and a compound fracture of the left leg during his ejection, Sijan successfully evaded capture for more than six weeks.

For Lance’s sister, Janine, the loss was intensified by the unpopularity of the Vietnam War, and uncertainty from the lack of information about her older brother’s situation, first missing in action (MIA) and then later a prisoner of war (POW).

On March 4, 1976, when President Gerald Ford presented the Medal of Honor to Lance’s father in a ceremony at the White House, the text of the citation was the first time he had been given the details of his son’s ordeal.

Janine Sijan Rozina has spent a lifetime preserving the story of her brother as an inspiration for people facing unimaginable hardships. Her mission has not been to remember his wartime ordeal as a POW, but to present Lance’s courage and refusal to quit as an example. Her efforts celebrate his spirit of hope, with its power to touch and uplift the lives of others.

June 2019 Hour of Honor Recipient – Mayor Steve Hogan

Earlier this year the City of Aurora lost its beloved Mayor, Steve Hogan, after a battle with cancer.  Hardly a bad word was ever spoken of Steve whose vision for Aurora always included bringing diverse groups together for the good of the community.   Steve moved to Denver in 1966 to attend the University of Denver (B.A., 1970), and with the exception of nine months back in Lincoln to attend the University of Nebraska School of Law (1970-71), he lived in Colorado the rest of his life. Hogan loved politics and public policy. He was a Colorado State Representative (1975-76) An Aurora City Councilmember (24 years between 1979 and 2009) And Aurora Mayor (2011-2018) He also proudly serviced as Executive Director of one of Colorado’s major political parties (1977-79), A candidate for the U.S. Congress twice (1982, and a 1983 special election). He was a registered Democrat for 16 years, and a registered Republican from 1989 until his death. He agreed with Winston Churchill that anyone not a liberal when they are young has no heart, and not a conservative when they are old, no brain. Hogan was recognized as a unifying community force during the Aurora Theater Shooting incident in 2012, a city budget expert, a strong economic development and jobs creation advocate, one who sought common ground from differing positions to achieve realistic compromises, and someone who just spoke common sense. People didn’t always agree with him, but most respected his opinion, even if they disagreed with him Hogan was an advocate for the support of diversity in the community. He revived the Sister Cities program, traveling to Adama, Ethiopia; Seongnam City, South Korea; and El Salvador. He was so pleased to see the El Salvadorian Consulate locate in Aurora, Colorado. In addition to activity with elective politics, Hogan also served as Executive Director of the E-470 Public Highway Authority (1991-1998) and the Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority (1998-2007). He is generally credited with the successful financing and construction of both Colorado toll roads at a time when virtually no other highway construction was occurring in Colorado. Although there were always life’s challenges, he was sure he wouldn’t have changed a thing in his life. He believed every part of his earthly experience helped him to become a better son, a better father, a better husband, and a better human being.

 

APRIL 2019 Hour of Honor Recipient - Kevin Sonka, Gold Star Father

Corporal David Michael Sonka, US Marine, was killed along with his war dog Flex in Afghanistan. David was killed training the native Afghan police force. On May 4th, 2013 the Marines took off their armor to show solidarity and trust of the Afghan trainee force and an infiltrator took this opportunity to shoot and kill David and his MPC war dog Flex.  After his death, his father, Kevin, wanted to do something to honor his memory while helping other veterans who had returned from war so he created the Rocky Mountain Dawgs Project.  Traveling across the country, trailer in tow, Kevin hosts steak dinner barbecues for military dog handlers and their families. Then two years ago the organization began providing service dogs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So far Rocky Mountain Dawgs has assisted nearly a dozen veterans obtain service dogs, a gift that saves lives.  Kevin Sonka is a blessing to all he meets and EZ 1430 is extremely proud to dedicate April's Hour of Honor to him.

MARCH 2019 Hour of Honor Recipient - Dr. Dan Clayton, Professor, Regis University

EZ 1430 is proud to recognize Dr. Dan Clayton as our March Hour of Honor recipient.   Dr. Clayton is professor of history at Regis University and the founder of the Regis University Center for the Study of War Experience. The center is a nationally recognized program in public history whose archival collections comprise several hundred hours of video recorded testimonies of war veterans. Clayton teaches courses in the field of European history, from the Early Modern period through the Cold War, as well as several integrated seminars in the Regis College core curriculum; he specializes in the study of war and memory.  Through Dan's skilled leadership Regis has built one of the state's largest collections of recorded and written first hand accounts of war experience along with an enormous collection of personal memorabilia, the items men and women saved from their war experience.  For 20-years Dr.Clayton and Regis have opened the doors to their Stories From Wartime series and invited listeners of EZ 1430 to attend the class free of charge and hundreds of them took advantage of the opportunity.  Today, dozens of institutes of higher learning across the country have used Dr, Clayton's model for creation of their own war studies programs.  Thank you Dr. Clayton for your work capturing the story of America's military men and women.  We are proud to dedicate an Hour of Honor to you.

FEBRUARY 2019 Hour of Honor Recipient: Jim Blane, WWII Iwo Jima Vet

Jim Blane is 95 years old and living proof, it's never too late to get the help you need.  Even seven decades later.  "I knew something was wrong with me," Blane said.  The World War II Marine saw the worst of the worst while serving in the Pacific.  From islanders committing suicide in droves on the rocky cliffs of Saipan, to his battle buddies who were killed on Iwo Jima, where he too was injured.

“That mortar hit one of our guys right in the back. There wasn`t enough left of him to bury hardly. And that`s when these other guys got the message about what Iwo was all about,”  For decades, Blane suffered in silence because of what he saw more than 70 years ago.  He admits, he sought comfort in liquor.  He was an alcoholic.  "So I had to hold this inside me. And when I checked in to the VA (Veteran's Administration), they had a name for what was going on with veterans. They called it psychoneurosis. That`s another reason I dropped out of the VA, because I didn`t want that name associated with that problem," Blane said.  The stigma was too much.  But a few years back, Blane sought the help he needed.  He was officially diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and now takes medication that helps.  He also meets weekly with a PTSD support group.  Few people associate the ailment with members of the Greatest Generation,but it is something even 90 year olds sometimes deal with.  Staying busy helps.  In recent years he's been an ambassador for the Denver-based charity, The Greatest Generations Foundation, traveling the world to tell the story of his service.  For his continued service to his country, in uniform and out, EZ 1430 is proud to dedicate February's Hour of Honor to Jim Blane and thanks the Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum and the Colorado State Veterans Home at Fitzsimons for your sponsorship.

EZ 1430 thanks Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum and the Colorado State Veterans Home at Fitzsimons for your sponsorship of Hour of Honor.

Complete the form below to nominate someone for an Hour of Honor.