Soldier looks forward to family time
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 to Dallas and Austin, Texas. For more information about the program, or to make donations, visit http://www.operationvacation.org.Age: 28Place of birth: East St. LouisBranch of the military: ArmyFamily: Wife, Christina; 6-month-old daughter, Sydney
When and why did you join the Army? I joined the National Guard first in August ’98, then when the war started I went to Iraq. I joined because it was a family tradition. My father was in the infantry and his father was in the infantry. Both their fathers and my father told us not to do it, but we did it anyway. Also, I joined to protect my family’s freedom.Where have you been deployed? Iraq twice, and I will be deployed to Iraq again. I’ve been stationed in Germany; Ft. Hood (Texas); Ft. Benning (Georgia); and now Ft. Carson (Colorado). I was also on guard at O’Hare (International) Airport in Chicago right after Sept. 11, and also in Germany.What experience in your travels overseas most surprised you? What a third-world country looks like – how great we have it and don’t appreciate it. It’s just the little things. All the textbooks had pictures on Saddam in them, and the teachers make $4 a month. We’ve built schools for them.First thing you’d buy after winning the lottery? A CorvetteWhat do you like to do in your free time? Spend time with my familyAs a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An architect – that was my dreamBest piece of advice you’ve ever received: We tell each other advice all the time, but it’s probably just stay alive over there. It’s the small things, the stuff the senior soldiers and friends tell me.Any tattoos? Yes, two. One’s my family name and the other’s a cross.
If you could invite anyone in history to dinner, who would they be, what would you serve and what would you talk about? My grandfather; my barbecue ribs; and just how things have changed. We’d talk about our old hunting trips. He was the first one to take me hunting. What’s the greatest invention of all time? Electricity, light bulbsWhat’s your most memorable military experience: My first tour in Iraq – it was a real tight brotherhood. We took care of each other. It’s just something we’ll never forget.What are you looking forward to doing while in Glenwood Springs? She (wife Christina) is looking forward to the spa. I’m just looking forward to the time I’ll spend with my family.
Movie: “Rudy”Video game: Pac-Man (it’s a classic), or, for Play Station, any war gamesBreakfast cereal: Frosted Shredded WheatMusic: I like a variety – old R&B, country, rockSport: Soccer when I was younger, but now I love baseball Team: St. Louis CardinalsAthlete: Jim EdmondsFood: BarbecueTV show: “Rules of Engagement” or “How I Met Your Mother”Place in the United States: Southern Illinois
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