A little R&R is just what the doctor ordered | PostIndependent.com
YOUR AD HERE »

A little R&R is just what the doctor ordered

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
ALL |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Being part of a hospital unit in Iraq, working with injured soldiers in the middle of a war that is oceans away from your daily life, would be a difficult job. But for four soldiers from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, they do it because that’s what they signed up for.Tameka Williams, Tana Gonzalez, Marlon Brandon and Kody Potts are all medical personnel with the 10th Combat Support Hospital, 25th Infantry Division. Tameka, Tana and Marlon all served in Tallil, Iraq. Potts has yet to be deployed; he was part of the rear detachment and joined the others after they returned from Iraq on Oct. 8.They look like any other group of young people visiting Glenwood, but their stories are much different.”Being part of the hospital, it was really sad when an injured soldier would come in,” Gonzalez said. “It was like ‘Wow, this is really happening.'”Serving in Iraq, these soldiers have witnessed the heart of war. That’s why this weekend is so important.They were chosen for Operation Vacation, 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.Already having enjoyed the day shuffling around town, these soldiers intend to make the most of it. The two gentlemen did some sightseeing at the Hotel Colorado and visited the Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub, while the ladies went to a spa for some relaxation.”This trip is kind of overwhelming, because you don’t feel like you deserve it,” Potts said. Brandon disagreed with his buddy’s comment, saying he did feel like he deserved it – he gave up a year of his life to be overseas, away from his family and friends, giving up all the luxuries that we have on a daily basis, to serve the country.Brandon voiced his appreciation for Operation Vacation.”You kind of feel like a star with all they do for you,” he said. “But it’s nice to feel appreciated.”The two ladies agreed that this trip was appreciated, but they don’t consider what they do to be special. And they definitely don’t look at themselves as heroes.”It’s really just a job,” Gonzalez said. “But it’s cool to know that it means a lot to others and that they are proud of us.”Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 16604jgardner@postindependent.com

Branch of the military and division: Army 10th Combat Support Hospital, 25th Infantry DivisionBirth Place: San Angelo, TexasFamily: Parents David and Rosa Rodriguez; brother John; sisters Andrea Pineda and husband Julian Pineda and Angelica Rodriguez and husband Christopher MillerCurrently Stationed: Fort Carson – Colorado SpringsWhere have you been deployed? Tallil, Iraq. Just returned to the states on Oct. 8How long have you been in the army and why did you join? For two years. I joined to better my life.When you were deployed, what did you miss most about the states and why? My familyWhere is the most memorable place you’ve visited in the world? The Ziggurat in Iraq. It’s one of the seven wonders of the world.Did you think about being in the military when you grew up? Nope.What do you like to do in your spare time? Listen to music, spend time with friends and family. I also love to shop.What are you looking forward to doing during your stay in Glenwood Springs? Getting a massage and facial … oh, and the sight-seeing helicopter ride around the area.

Branch of the military and division: Army 10th Combat Support Hospital, 25th Infantry DivisionBirth Place: Huntington, N.Y.Family: Parents George and Arvanga Brandon; three sisters, Vanessa, Dureen and Maria; and brother Frank.Currently Stationed: Fort Carson – Colorado SpringsWhere have you been deployed: Tallil, IraqHow long have you been in the army and why did you join? 10 years. I joined to give me something meaningful to do and for the steady job, pay and benefits.When you were deployed, what did you miss most about the states and why? Home, where you really want to go in your spare time, and how you choose to spend your free time.Where is the most memorable place you’ve visited in the world? Thailand. I’ve been there twice, and the second time I was with a group of guys, and we were able to do a lot. It was a great time.Did you think about being in the military when you grew up? Yes. I kept it in the back of my mind in case other plans didn’t work out.What do you like to do in your spare time? Go to clubs, bowl, meet people.What are you looking forward to doing during your stay in Glenwood Springs? Having some drinks, meeting some girls, besides that, touring the museums, art galleries, and the skiing area. And the helicopter ride should be cool.



Branch of the military and division: Army 10th Combat Support Hospital, 25th Infantry DivisionBirth Place: Naples, ItalyFamily: Mother Deborah Williams; Kawona Gamble; Andre Williams; and Tasha Williams.Currently Stationed: Fort Carson – Colorado SpringsWhere have you been deployed: Tallil, Iraq.How long have you been in the army and why did you join? Two and a half years. I joined for the GI Bill, so I could go to college.When you were deployed, what did you miss most about the states and why? My family and my best friend Cross. I had my girl Tana, so I was OK. Tana was the best roommate.Where is the most memorable place you’ve visited in the world? Alabama.Did you think about being in the military when you grew up? Yes, because I came from a military family.What do you like to do in your spare time? Read books, write my unfinished novel and watch television.What are you looking forward to doing during your stay in Glenwood Springs? I am looking forward to the overall relaxation and no physical training.

Branch of the military and division: Army 10th Combat Support Hospital, 25th Infantry DivisionBirth Place: Mesquite, TexasFamily: Parents Joe and Donna Potts; brother Kurtis Potts; grandmother Wanda WebbCurrently Stationed: Fort Carson – Colorado SpringsWhere have you been deployed: I haven’t been deployed yet. I was in the rear detachment while the 10th CSH was in Iraq.How long have you been in the army and why did you join? One year. I wanted to better understand my limits as a person.Where is the most memorable place you’ve visited in the world? While I was in college, I visited Guatemala and Belize. I loved Belize.Did you think about being in the military when you grew up? I never imagined that I would be in the military, but when I herd stories of one of my professors as a medic in Vietnam, I wanted to have some of the qualities he possesses.What do you like to do in your spare time? Fishing, hiking, weight lifting.What are you looking forward to doing during your stay in Glenwood Springs? I would love to either do some fly-fishing or explore the caves.Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Colo. CO


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User