Tears were shed inside City Hall Tuesday as municipal leaders memorialized a Cortez soldier killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I just want to thank the city for even considering this,” said Harold Geer, pausing to regain his composure. “George loved this town. I consider it an honor.”
The Cortez City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, July 8, to name the Carpenter Natural Area addition after Army Pfc. George Raymond Geer. Geer, 27, died after a car bomb detonated near his position in Ramadi, Iraq, on Jan. 17, 2005.
Tim Kline, chair of the city’s planning and zoning commission, initiated the naming ceremony for the city’s proposed 60-acre outdoor park system of hiking and biking trails. He told city leaders they should be proud of their decision to keep a hometown hero’s memory alive for generations.
“George paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedoms,” said Kline. “This is one small way to say thank you to him and his family.”
Army veteran Robert Valencia, a friend of the Geer family, told council members he was thankful that signage plans at the outdoor park would also include the words, “Honor one. Honor all.”
“George is our legacy,” he said.
“This is a fine tribute,” added Marvin Hermanns, commander of American Legion Ute Mountain Post 75.
“George was a wonderful man,” said friend P.J. West. “He is an excellent representative for our city.”
Geer joined the Army at the age of 25, just before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“There’s been Geers in the military every generation since the Revolutionary War,” said Harold Geer. “George believed in his country and what he was doing.”
Geer served a year in South Korea and went to Iraq in July 2004. He was stationed in Ramadi, where he was a gunner with the 503rd Airborne Infantry.
From Michigan, the Geer family moved to southwestern Colorado when George was 12. He graduated from Dolores High School, where he participated in wrestling, baseball, football and track.
“He was easygoing and friendly,” his father recalled. “He knew everybody. He looked out for the underdog. He was afraid of nobody. He lived in a black and white world. What was right was right. Wrong was wrong.”
Geer was survived by his father; his older sister, Hope; and his mother, Lois. His brother, Chad, died in a car accident in 1989.