Montrose made national headlines upon being named an All-America city in a convention held in Denver in June. The All-America City award, described as a Nobel Prize for civic accomplishment, has been bestowed on 600 communities nationwide since its inception in 1949.
In May, Montrose joined Brush and Colorado Springs as Colorado finalists in the All-America competition, competing against 20 cities, some of whose delegations included hundreds of participants, compared to the relatively tiny Montrose delegation of 15.
Back in 1990, Montrose was a finalist in the All-America City Competition, finishing 11th out of 20.
Prior to the 2013 competition, members of the Montrose delegation put in long hours on their presentation, focusing on the Welcome Home Montrose Warrior Resource Center, the closure (and subsequent reopening) of the Montrose timber mill and on efforts to revive downtown Montrose (nurtured by the City of Montrose and the Downtown Development Authority).
"It's a real David versus Goliath," Montrose City Councilor Carol McDermott said of the city’s bid for top honors, for which the delegation began preparing in March.
"The judges already know everything about Montrose from what's been sent in,” said delegate Dee Coram. “We're just hoping our presentation attracts the right kinds of questions."
The hard work paid off on June 15, when the National Civic League bestowed one of its ten All-America City designations on Montrose in front of a packed house at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver.
“I think this is a huge opportunity for the world to know what we’re all about, and what we're doing in Montrose for our veterans," said Melanie Kline, founder of the Welcome Home Montrose Warrior Resource Center and a founding member of Montrose's delegation to Denver.
Montrose won the award thanks in large part to the herculean efforts of the Warrior Resource Center to make Montrose a "No Barriers" community, where veterans can come to live and reintegrate into society, nurtured by community support from citizens who stop at nothing to honor, help and promote local veterans and military families.
"It's the community that won this award,” said Montrose Mayor Judy Ann Files, another delegate. “We just got the chance to go to Denver and talk about it. Our community has come together to fund these great projects and work on collaborative projects. That's what it took to get the award was that community involvement."