Coffman issues a challenge with his own money to repair damage at Aurora memorial to Colorado’s war dead

Hey, Democrats, want to get in Rep. Mike Coffman’s wallet? Here’s your big chance.

The down side is you’ll put a smile on the face of the Republican congressman Democrats have beaten since he entered Colorado politics in 1989.

Coffman says he will put in a quarter for every $1 donated up to the first $10,000 to repair damage done by vandals to the Colorado Freedom Memorial, the Aurora monument completed in 2013 to honor Coloradans who died defending their country. Vandals struck on July 13, destroying a glass panel that will cost at least $50,000 replace.

Coffman is a veteran of the U.S. Army and Marines and served in both Iraq wars. Born on an Army base, Coffman is the son of career Army soldier.

“This just breaks my heart, and we have an obligation to make this right on behalf of all of those from Colorado who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Coffman said.

The memorial, on land leased for it by the city of Aurora near Buckley Air Force Base, gets no taxpayer support, so it will be up to volunteers and veterans such as Coffman to defend and restore it.

The memorial names more than 6,000 Coloradans killed in action since statehood in 1876, from the Spanish American War to the present.

“I’m so happy that Congressman Mike Coffman is willing to step forward and help, and we deeply appreciate his efforts,” Air Force veteran Rick Crandall, president of the Colorado Freedom Memorial Foundation who saw it through to creation with his wife, Diane.

Diane Crandall added, “We still need help raising money, in addition to the replacement of the panel, to cover the ongoing operations and maintenance for the memorial.”

Those who want to take advantage of Coffman’s offer, which they can still deduct on their taxes, can donate online or send a check to “Colorado Freedom Memorial,” P.O. Box 472333, Aurora, Colorado 80047-2333.

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