Jim Harrington was looking for the perfect way to say 'thank you' to a very special cadre of teachers in Cherry Creek Schools.
Harrington, a former Cherry Creek School District Board of Education member, wanted to pay tribute to those district professionals who sacrificed both as educators and as members of the military. Harrington, a West Point graduate who spent decades serving in the U.S. Army, wanted to acknowledge this multi-tiered kind of service.
He found three educators out of many in the district who fit the bill. Eastridge Elementary ILC teacher Bart Von Klinggraeff, Mission Viejo Elementary PE teacher Bruce Anthony and Cottonwood Creek Elementary school nurse Barb de Cardona were recommended for their outstanding service to their schools, as well as their sacrifices to their country.
During a special ceremony held in the district's Educational Services Center on Dec. 4, Harrington offered the trio a chance to join him for the final Broncos football game of 2017, a match against the Kansas City Chiefs slated for New Year's Eve. Harrington presented the three veterans and teachers with six tickets to a private suite at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, a vantage Harrington secured through his role as the Arapahoe County representative on the board of the Metropolitan Football Stadium District.
"I decided to extend the invitation to educators in Cherry Creek," Harrington said during the ceremony. "You are all veterans. You sacrificed in our military and now you sacrifice as teachers. You don't necessarily receive all the rewards that you deserve. This is a chance for me to say 'thank you.'"
Cherry Creek School District Dr. Harry Bull was also on hand to acknowledge Harrington's own contributions to his country and to CCSD.
"Jim served in Vietnam and served 20 years in the military, but he also served the Cherry Creek School District as a school board member for a very long time," Bull said, adding that Harrington's longtime role as a financial advisor has also contributed to the success and longevity of the district. "He has been instrumental in supporting the district for countless bond issuances and refunding and the like. He has been instrumental in securing the resources for the Cherry Creek School District."
Von Klinggraeff served in the Air Force from 1985 to 1989 as an egress mechanic and worked on F-4 training jets. Anthony served in the Army from 1980 to 1984, and De Cardona was a registered nurse in the U.S. Army from 1993 to 1998. Harrington said the value of this service had a far greater significance and value than the price of suite tickets for a single football game.
Still, Harrington looked forward to welcoming the three teachers and their guests to watch the game with his own family and friends on New Year's Eve. True, the Broncos aren't having the best year, but the law of averages points to the fact that the team is due for a turnaround. Having the dedicated group of service members/educators in attendance may just help turn the tide for the team.
The trio didn't seemed concerned about the Broncos' wins and losses. They were excited about the prospect of heading to one of Denver's most cherished landmarks for New Year's. Anthony even spoke about getting a hotel room to enjoy the New Year celebration in downtown Denver in style.
This group was bound to have a winning experience on New Year's Eve, whatever the final score of the Broncos/Chiefs game.