PARKER – Every day, another family comes together to remember a carefree kid in uniform with a crooked hat and smile.
“The goofy smile!” Jacquelyn Greenbaum said with a laugh. “That’s him,” she added, pointing to the picture of her grandfather, Walter Wolf.
Last Saturday, Wolf died in Oregon at the age of 93. He was a World War II veteran, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient and a member of the Greatest Generation, a generation that’s becoming smaller by the day.
There are fewer than 700,000 living World War II vets according to the National World War II Museum. Walter Wolf’s family gathered in Parker Saturday morning to celebrate his life.
“He was in many senses larger than life doing so much that he did,” Greenbaum said. “He knew what it meant to travel, to paint, to raise a family and be loving and show them everything that they could accomplish no matter what.”
A few blocks away from where Walter Wolf’s family gathered, Kathy stood beside her motorcycle parked at Chaparral High School and reflected on the life of the man she never met.
“He actually stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II,” Goldstein said.
Kathy Goldstein is a senior ride captain for the Patriot Guard Riders of Colorado. She and two other riders gathered to honor Walter Wolf.
“There’s nobody more important,” Goldstein said. “There’s nothing more important for me to do today than be there for his family and let them know how much I appreciate Walter’s service.”
Kathy has volunteered with the Patriot Guard Riders for nine years. She rides for the names stitched on her jean jacket vest and tattooed on her arm: Tommy Cole, Max Donahue, Liam Nevins, Blake Harris and Danny Dietz.
“Blake Harris.” Goldstein said, pointing to the tattoo. “His father’s a personal friend of mine. He was killed in action.”
Kathy said she rides for these men who served and sacrificed. She rides to honor them.
“That’s why I do what I do,” Goldstein said, fighting back tears. “I do it for them. I do it for them.”
On Saturday morning, Goldstein rode for Walter Wolf. As family mingled outside the home in Parker, Goldstein parked her motorcycle and walked up with a manila envelope in hand.
“On behalf of the Patriot Guard Riders, these are condolence notices that came in from all over the country thatI can present you with in honor of your grandfather’s service to our country,” Goldstein said, handing the envelope over to Jacquelyn Greenbaum. “We’re so very honored and blessed to be able to be here today and we’re so very sorry for your loss.”
Each day, another Walter Wolf is lost. Kathy Goldstein knows each and every Walter Wolf deserves to be honored.
“Somebody needs to remember them,” Goldstein said. “Somebody needs to respect what they did and say goodbye.”
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