The Patriot |

The Patriot

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

Tyson V. Repke is proud to be an American.His patriotism shows in his service as a petty officer in the United States Navy from 1993-99.It shows in his efforts to encourage veterans to wear their medals on national holidays especially Saturday as part of the new Veterans Pride Initiative.Repke’s love for his country even resonates online, where the book “The Letters of John and Abigail Adams” was recently added to his Wish List.”As I grew up, my father especially, and all of my family made it clear to me that this country is unique, and where we live is special,” Repke said.

Repke’s father was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army. The “V.” in Tyson’s name is for his father, Victor. Both Repke’s grandfathers were in the Navy, and he followed in their footsteps right out of high school.”Primarily I wanted to join because I had a family history of service and I wanted to do my part,” he said.Repke, music director at Glenwood Springs middle and high schools, also wanted to go to college.”There are some good benefits in joining, like paying for school,” he said. “But ultimately, what it boiled down to was I wanted to serve.”He joined the Navy to specialize in the nuclear field. Repke was a submariner on the USS La Jolla, a nuclear-powered attack submarine. The sub traveled from Portsmith Naval Shipyard in Boston and to Western Pacific harbors in the Philippines, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.

“I chose submarines mostly because No. 1 there’s always been a history of camaraderie between submariners, and truly everyone depends on everyone else,” Repke said.At 360 feet long, with a crew of 12 officers and 115 enlisted, the six-month tours on the USS La Jolla made for tight quarters.But Repke didn’t seem to mind too much.”It’s different. It can do strange things to you,” he said. “It can mess with your eyesight.”Every now and then, Repke will tell a sub story or two to his students.

This week, he communicated how it feels to be a veteran as the GSHS choral students prepared to sing at Thursday’s Veterans Day assembly.”I’ve mentioned to my students before, as we were preparing for the concerts, that there is a camaraderie there and a sense of purpose in being a veteran,” he said. “Some made the ultimate sacrifice. And every single person who is serving now, or who has served, has given a sacrifice. They do it all willingly.” Thursday, Repke was proud of his students’ rendition of “America the Beautiful.””It came off well, and I was really happy with it,” he said.A patriot’s dream especially for Tyson V. Repke.

Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext.

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