Puebloans of Slovenian heritage gave a warm welcome Ambassador Dr. Božo Cerar Saturday morning. The diplomat was treated to an appreciation breakfast at Park East Restaurant where he was presented with an honorary proclamation from city leaders.
After the breakfast, the ambassador toured the Gorsich Technology Center at Pueblo Community College. “To have the international attention of the ambassador and national attention of the Slovenian organization, it just lends so much credibility and meaning to the work that we do here,” said College President Dr. Patty Erjavec.
From there, it was a trip the St. Mary’s Slovenian Library and Gorsick Genealogy Center. The ambassador brought gifts for the collection including copies of bi-lingual children’s books and a Slovenian-English dictionary. “There are quite precious exhibits here, I just hope that it will be preserved for the future generations,”Cerar said.
This visit was the idea of Pueblo native Rudy Krasovec, who serves as chairman of the American Slovenian Catholic Union KSKJ. He met Dr. Cerar in San Francisco during a recent visit by the Slovenian Prime Minister. “I asked him, I said if you ever come to Colorado, please stop and see us in Pueblo or we’ll come up to see you,” Krasovec said.
It turns out, Cerar was planning to come to Colorado to meet with the National Guard and took Krasovec up the invitation. He contacted Honorary Consulate Lucky Vidmar who then called Krasovec and former Congressman Ray Kogovsek to coordinate the trip. “I wanted to see this very vibrant American-Slovenian community in Pueblo I’ve heard a lot about,” Cerar said.
The ambassador will attend the National Guard Association of Colorado Annual Conference and Military Ball in Broomfield Saturday evening. Slovenian soldiers and Colorado Guardsmen routinely train together and even served side by side during the war in Afghanistan. “What I would like to see grow is whether we could extend this military cooperation to some other place, the economy, for instance, education,” Ambassador Cerar said.
Pueblo has a sister cities agreement with the City of Maribor, Slovenia. Cerar said he was previously unaware of the international relationship promised to do what he could to re-invigorate it. Consulate Vidmar said the Pueblo community should feel proud of its Slovenian heritage. “I hope it means that the whole community in Pueblo understands that they’re not alone, that they’re part of a larger community of Slovenians in Colorado and the US and all over the world.”