For Harold Geer, dedicating an outdoor recreational area in honor of his son is misrepresentative, because countless others have also died while defending our nation's freedoms.
"A lot of soldiers have stepped up," said Geer, moments after a 60-acre preserve was named in honor of his son, Spc. George Raymond Geer. "They all signed on the line to volunteer, and George would have been very cognizant of that."
Geer specifically cited Army Staff Sgt. Thomas E. Vitagliano, 33, of Hartford, Conn. Both Geer and Vitagliano were killed in action when an improvised explosive device detonated inside a vehicle near their position in Ramadi, Iraq, on Jan. 17, 2005.
"George was one of many," said Geer.
More than a decade after his son's untimely death, Geer said he was overwhelmed by the city's effort to name an outdoor recreation area in honor of his son, especially on Memorial Day.
"We're just appreciative that this community helped to make George the man he was," said Geer. "I'm proud to call this home."
Geer received the recovered cartridges spent during the 21-gun salute from the VFW honor guard.
Riding his mountain bike to the dedication, Scott Darling said having an outdoor area named in honor of a former classmate and friend was an exceptional community memorial for such an outstanding man.
"George was one of the nicest guys I ever met," said Darling. "He was always willing to help someone."
Honor guard member Richard Kriner with the Montezuma County VFW Post 5231 added the natural area on County Road L was the first local memorial to be named after a specific military serviceman.
"This is a very big honor," said Kriner.
Cortez Councilor Orly Lucero said the dedication exemplified the area's tremendous support for the military and their families.
"That's what I like most about this community," said Lucero. "We have a strong support for our troops."
Blue Star Mother Masayo Weber said George Geer was the same age as her son, Joe, who continues to serve in the military. She too was proud to know that the city named the natural area after a fallen soldier.
"George is like my son too," said Weber. "This is special."