Soldier, an aspiring novelist, looks forward to skiing at Sunlight |

Soldier, an aspiring novelist, looks forward to skiing at Sunlight

Post Independent/Kara K. PearsonSgt. 1st Class Mike Brinkopf, right, poses with his wife, Kelli, and son, Erik, while in Glenwood on Operation Vacation.

Operation Vacation is a program that brings military personnel who have fought overseas to the Roaring Fork Valley. Bob Johnson, a realtor for Vicki Lee Green Realtors in Glenwood Springs, coordinated with the Army to create the program that provides lodging, meals and amenities for veterans. He hopes to continue the program throughout the year with the support of local donors. More than 20 businesses have offered complimentary dinners, entertainment, outdoor activities, lodging and transportation for Operation Vacation participants since the program’s inception last August. Those interested in sponsoring the program may contact Bob Johnson at or 945-1010.Name: Sgt. 1st Class Mike Brinkopf

Age: 48Branch of the military and division: Army, Third Armored Cavalry RegimentFamily: wife of 23 years, Kelli; 16-year-old son, Erik (who will be 17 on March 30). Kelli said it was love at first sight when the two met when she was 12. The Brinkopfs have known each other for 33 years.

When and why did you join the Army? 1986; I joined under the notion I was going to make a two-year commitment (that was an option offered then). I had just taken an electronics course and I wanted to further my education. I wanted to go into aviation electronics. I was on a mission to get the college money, but I kept graduating (first in his class) and moving up. I’m officially retiring in October.Where have you been deployed? I started in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I’ve only been deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom I and III. I also served in Korea, and we’ve lived in Georgia, Texas and Hawaii. My wife and I are originally from Colorado, so it’s kind of come full circle for us. We live at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs.When you were being deployed, what did you miss most about home? Just the proximity you miss the people. I was lucky, my last two deployments were fairly easy. Because of the job I do, I get to work at a computer. I was able to e-mail every day and use a phone.

What’s your favorite food(s)? We’ve been all over the world, but my favorite food are the enchiladas from Taco House in Littleton.What do you like to do in your free time? Play music guitar and keyboards. I also write music and books. I have a finished novel of short stories, horror like Stephen King, that hasn’t been published. I like to watch movies. After you’ve been gone a year, you go to the video store and it takes a couple of weeks or months to get through all the movies you’ve missed.What historical figure do you most admire? Salvador Dali. I appreciate his vision and his tilted insight.What are you looking forward to doing while in Glenwood Springs? We’re going to go Sunlight Saturday. We’re going to try and do everything the Hot Springs, Caverns, the Brew Pub. We were going to try and find the Dragon’s Lair because we collect dragons from around the world.

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