by Marissa Lorenz
Grand Lake’s 10th annual US Constitution Week continues to deliver on its mission to be the premier Constitution Week event in America, celebrating “the world’s greatest governing document like no other town.”
This year’s affair was the largest event yet, with a full seven days of activities, all designed to educate and build community around the US Constitution. As in past years, participants were treated to speakers from across the country, a parade, fireworks, music from the El Jebel Shrine Pipe Band, and an Air Force flyover.
A worship service was added this year, given that “Judeo-Christian values and the Constitution are integrally intertwined,” according to event founder Tom Goodfellow.
And on Saturday, among a busy day and directly following the flyover, Kremmling’s own Brenda Bock, was recognized as the Patriot of the Year.
Bock, who serves as Grand County’s elected coroner and who has worked in the coroner’s office for nearly 35 years, has spent
much of the COVID-19 pandemic fighting for accuracy in pandemic-related death reporting and arguing that “accidental and homicidal deaths” should not be reported in official pandemic death counts.
In December of 2019, she challenged the State of Colorado, which had chosen to report the tragic deaths of a murder-suicide event in Grand County as COVID-related, as the decedents had been diagnosed with COVID in the weeks prior to their deaths.
“It’s not right,” Bock stated at the time. “I believe we do need to stand up, and we do need to get these numbers corrected.”
Bock took her protest to leaders in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), state lawmakers, and eventually to Colorado Governor Jared Polis himself. And in early 2020, Press Secretary Colin Cahill released a statement from the Governor’s office, stating, “The Governor is outraged and agrees with the Coroner.”
However, reporting practices have not changed, and the two gunshot victims have remained among the State’s official count of Grand County’s COVID-related deaths.
It was Bock’s perseverance that brought her to the attention of Goodfellow, who didn’t meet Bock in-person until the day of her award presentation.
“I believe in truth,” he said.
“This is someone trying to get the truth out. And in my view, it relates to the Constitution, because honesty and integrity and those who will act as guardians of the Constitution are exactly what we need in government leaders.
“We need a lot more Brenda Bocks.”
Goodfellow continues with praises of Bock as he recounts the highlights of another successful Constitution Week.
But for his part, the 10th annual event will be Goodfellow’s last as an organizer in Grand Lake. He
and his wife, who owned Grand Escapes Cottages for 22 years have recently sold the business and moved to Lake Havasu, Arizona.
Goodfellow indicates that the 10th year was an important milestone that he had been committed to seeing through but that the group of supporters around the event, including an active board and a continually growing group of volunteers, are excited and dedicated to moving the Grand Lake event forward.
Goodfellow notes that while some people and groups have “tried to politicize the event over the years,” those involved in the organizing and implementation of the event have been “phenomenal.”
“What I’ve really learned is how many terrific people there are,” he exclaims. “We’ve had 42 speakers and over 70 presentations over the 10 years. We’ve brought important civic education into Grand Lake and brought together people from all walks of life, encompassing young to old, people from different races and religions–we’ve had participation from people from almost every sector of nationality.
“But I am most proud of our volunteers, those who come back every year and those who come and go,” Goodfellow says, while affirming that he is ready to pass on the torch to those volunteers and board members.
“I don’t think I’ll be back for next year’s event,” he explains.
“The only way for the event to grow and have wings is to step back and let those people who are here run it and come up with new ideas and maybe a fresh perspective.
“I’m not afraid of change.
And if there’s anything I can do to help from afar, I will do that,” Goodfellow says, stating that he’s already begun organizing support in Lake Havasu for its own Constitution Celebration in 2022.
“The idea has always been to see events like these across the country,” Goodfellow states. “I hope to see it become a regular thing, like the 4th of July. Education can bring us together and help to ensure freedom–it’s timely, and I encourage everyone, start your own US Constitution