Central City vets celebrate the Fourth

Lynn Hirshman, Black Hawk.  On Thursday, July 2, KYGT, The Goat—the community radio station in Idaho Springs, received an odd email request:

“I need some help. My name is John Boyer from the VFW and Am[erican] Legion post in Central City. I am having problems getting some 4th of July music. We are having a Vets party, and need some songs.”

Dave Harvey, the station’s program director, responded: “Hey John Boyer, do you have a list of tunes you would like, and can you use .mp3, if so we could find what you want and put them on a thumb drive or dropbox them to you. I’ve included my best song man in this discussion,  hopefully we can help.”

His “best song man” is John Clower of Gilpin County, a three-year volunteer DJ with The Goat, whose music can be heard just about any time, but is live on Friday afternoons. (The Goat can be streamed online at KYGT.org.)

After several emails and phone calls, the two Johns came to an agreement about music for the party: lots of Vietnam-era songs for the first few hours, with appropriate music to accompany the impressive Black Hawk fireworks. And oh, by the way – won’t John come to the party? And his wife, too—who just happens to be the editor of The Mountain-Ear.

John Boyer’s Black Hawk home sits over the Post Office, with a huge deck that could have been built specifically for fireworks watching. About 15 vets and their spouses enjoyed the grilled feast prepared by the Legion, along with desserts brought by talented wives. The  music was appreciated, too: there was even a little dancing and singing along happening.

A wave of rain threatened the party on the deck, until a 10’ x 10’ canopy was swiftly raised over damp guests and exposed food. When someone mentioned “Well, that was efficient!” the response was “Just ask a vet!”

Boyer was more than enthusiastic about the groups he’s involved with. “Do you know that our membership enrollment is the highest in the United States?” he told me. “And every vet has a story.” Before he could launch into one of them, I agreed to stay in touch and talk to men in the group to get their stories for The Mountain-Ear.

By 9:30, when the stupendous fireworks show began, the rain had stopped and all stood around agape watching the immense show, listening to “The 1812 Overture” and “Pictures at an Exhibition” between the explosions echoing off the hills. When it was over – after an incredible double-barreled finale – there were cheers and whistles.
And John Boyer saying “We’ll do this every year.”