15 minutes with … an Operation Vacation soldier
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – Operation Vacation is a program that brings to the Roaring Fork Valley military personnel who have fought overseas. Bob Johnson, a Realtor for Vicki Lee Green Realtors, in Glenwood Springs, coordinated with the Army to create the program that hosts soldiers in Glenwood every month. Local businesses have donated dinners, entertainment, outdoor activities, lodging and transportation for Operation Vacation participants.This year, the program expands to Winter Park in Grand County and Dallas, Texas. For more information about the program, or to make donations, visit http://www.operationvacation.org.
Age: 33Place of birth: McMinnville, Ore.Branch of the military and division: Army, 242nd EOD (explosive ordinance disposal, aka bomb squad)Family: Fiancée Tammie Strait; children Tommy (7), Mathew (2), Alex (2), Derick (8), D’Metri (4) and Dyllan (2)
When and why did you join the Army? 2004; mostly to join the fight, and to do my part in this warWhere have you been deployed? IraqWhat experience in your travels overseas most surprised you? How much everybody over there (our guys) wanted to be there doing what they’re doingFirst thing you’d buy after winning the lottery? A house What do you like to do in your free time? Mostly spend time with my familyAs a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A football player
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: Duck.Any tattoos? Yes, fiveIf you could invite anyone in history to dinner, who would they be, what would you serve and what would you talk about? Babe Ruth. I’d serve steaks and talk about the Yankees.What’s the greatest invention of all time? The athletic cupWhat’s your most memorable military experience: Getting my toe blown off from a RPG (rocket propelled grenade)What are you looking forward to doing while in Glenwood Springs? Everything – the Hot Springs Pool mostly, and we’ll do the (Iron Mountain) Tram today. Tammie’s going to the (Vapor Caves) spa.
Movie: Cheech and Chong’s “Up in Smoke”Video game: Grand Theft AutoBreakfast cereal: Count ChoculaBand: Lynyrd SkynyrdAthlete: Bo JacksonFood: Prime ribWeb site: MySpaceSport: FootballCartoon character: PopeyePlace in the United States: Key West, Fla.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.