"In honor of your service at Rocky Flats," proclaimed the message on the outside of an envelope from Cold War Patriots. And inside, a personalized letter announced that "a commemorative coin has been designed to honor you as a former Rocky Flats worker and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Cold War."
A nice gesture, but there was just one problem: The Centennial resident who received the envelope never worked at the Rocky Flats nuclear-weapons plant, the facility sixteen miles upwind of Denver that produced plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs from the early '50s until 1989. In fact, he didn't even live in Colorado until two years ago.
Since workers who actually did work in the nuclear-weapons and uranium-mining industry have complained for decades about the federal government ignoring them -- and their health concerns -- it seemed odd that a group was suddenly showing such concern. But in fact, Cold War Patriots is hot on the trail of these workers, in hopes of providing support.
Turns out the nonprofit (find it at coldwarpatriots.org) is doing mass mailings to people of a certain age in zip codes near former nuclear facilities on the off-chance that they might reach someone who worked in the field and would not only appreciate being honored, but might need help getting the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation benefits owed by the Department of Defense.
What? A mass mailing that isn't a scam? Amazing but true.
And Cold War Patriots isn't stopping with a medal. It's also created a National Day of Remembrance Pin description for veterans of the Cold War:
From the Manhattan Project through the end of the Cold War, 700,000 Americans worked to build our country's nuclear deterrent. A debt of gratitude is owed to those who aided in keeping our nation peaceful and prosperous.
The first and only lapel pin created to honor atomic workers has been re-commissioned for a limited time by the Department of Energy. This rare pin is now available to former nuclear weapons complex workers at no cost.
Sorry, getting a mailing doesn't qualify you for the award...you must have actually served. Have a tip? Send it to email@example.com.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.