Liz Schultze named honorary Marine during Aspen ceremony |

Liz Schultze named honorary Marine during Aspen ceremony

Liz Schultze attended the Marine Corps birthday celebration Thursday like she regularly does on the 10th of November at Aspen Grove Cemetery, but this time she was in for a surprise.

Schultze, 83, was sitting next to her husband, Pink, who served in the Navy, as Lt. Col. Dick Merritt made an announcement she didn’t expect.

“Over the years we all volunteer for the Winter Sports Clinic, the Fourth of July parade, and I’d like to honor one of the ladies who has been supportive over the years,” Merritt said. “Liz Schutlze, will you step up?”

Schultze rose from her chair and joined Merritt, who presented her with a framed certificate declaring her an honorary Marine.

Schultze was nearly speechless when she was given the certificate, and her sunglasses couldn’t conceal her emotions.

“What a surprise,” she said.

Merritt, no stranger to humor, then showed her a photo of a Marine. “She always said she loved the Marine Corp blue,” he said, and asked her to read what was written on the photo.

“We’re not only good looking, we’ll kick your ass, too,” she said, drawing laughs from the roughly two dozen in attendance.

The certificate praised Schultze for her “outstanding meritorious service” toward the Marine Corps in the Roaring Fork Valley from February 2002 through May, including her support for the Disabled American Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Aspen and regular appearances at military-related events.

“Liz Schultze’s untiring efforts to carry out the duties of her demanding tasks with unfailing good judgment, effectiveness and total devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service,” the certificate said.

After the presentation, as she enjoyed some cake celebrating the Marine Corps’ 241st birthday — it dates back to Nov. 10, 1775 — Schultze said she became inspired by the Marines decades ago thanks to her cousin, who was a Marine himself.

“It did bring tears to my eyes,” she said about the unexpected honor.

Schultze said she will be at the Veterans Day ceremony today in Aspen. It starts at 11 and will be held at memorial site located next to the Pitkin County Courthouse on Main Street.

Schultze has lived in the Aspen area since the 1960s, before she and her husband moved to the Dakata subdivision about 10 years ago. They both had long careers with Aspen Skiing Co., while Pink was once a conservative columnist for the Aspen Today newspaper in the 1970s.

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