Telluride Foundation Hopes to Honor the Late Gen. Schwarzkopf
TELLURIDE – The Telluride Foundation announced this week it will attempt to rename the Telluride Post Office after Norman Schwarzkopf, the late four-star general who was a part-time Telluride resident.
Renaming the post office requires support from a U.S. senator or congressman as well as an act of Congress. Fortunately, Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has expressed his support.
Telluride Mayor Stu Fraser, and former Marine Brian Ahern, commander of the Austin Heitt American Legion #12 in Telluride, have voiced support for the renaming.
“[The general’s] wife and their children loved Telluride and visited the post office every day they were in Telluride,” said Fraser in a letter addressed to Senator Udall. “I cannot imagine a more exceptional choice than to name that facility after the General.”
In addition to being a decorated military general, Schwarzkopf was a part-time Telluride resident and founding board member of the Telluride Foundation, with Ron Allred. He regularly attended the town’s Fourth of July parade, often leading uniformed veterans as they marched down Main Street. Schwarzkopf was an avid outdoorsman, a conservationist and noted for his philanthropic endeavors for youth.
“His giving was always kept very private,” said Paul Major, president and CEO of the Telluride Foundation. “But he was a dedicated conservationist, in the Theodore Roosevelt sense. He hunted and fished and had a real love for Telluride and the area.”
While most of the details behind his philanthropy are unavailable, Schwarzkopf co-founded Camp Boggy Creek, a year-round medical camp for children with serious illnesses in Florida, with actor/philanthropist Paul Newman,
Schwarzkopf graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1956, going on to earn a master’s degree in guided-missile engineering from the University of Southern California.
A veteran of the Vietnam War and of the invasion of Grenada, Schwarzkopf rose to prominence when he led an international force of over 750,000 troops – the largest coalition since World War II – during the Gulf War. Many historians consider the Gulf War to be one of the most successful campaigns in U.S. military history. Even today, Schwarzkopf is viewed by historians and public figures as one of the most effective leaders in military history.
“That’s why he was recognized as a great general,” said Major. “He was given a charge by the President, he got it done successfully, and he did while minimizing casualties and damage.”
In addition to his various military awards and recognitions, Schwarzkopf was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the county, in 2002. The Congressional Gold Medal is given to persons “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after their achievement.”
But in Telluride, he was known for different reasons.
“Anyone that comes from the military knows that privates and four-star generals don’t fraternize,” said Ahern. “But General Schwarzkopf was such a nice man and so easy to talk to. He really does have a special place in Telluride’s heart.”
The Telluride Ski Resort recently announced it will be honoring the late general by renaming the Ophir Loop trail “Stormin’ Norman.”
“He had a big intellect,” said Major. “He was very smart, and obviously very capable. He was a truly larger-than-life person.”
Gen. Schwarzkopf died at 78 after a bout of pneumonia in December, 2012.