Playing 10 seasons in the National Football League is tough, just ask Randy Gradishar, one of the best linebackers to ever play for the Denver Broncos.
But, being stationed in Kuwait for any stretch of time is tougher, something Gradishar now knows first-hand after visiting U.S. troops there last month.
Gradishar made a 10-day trip to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, to watch the Super Bowl with 500 U.S. troops, an experience he called gratifying.
“Being able to just ask them questions and get to know them, no matter how briefly, and shaking their hands was very gratifying,” he said. “It was like being at home with a bunch of friends. There was yelling when something happened in the game.”
There was one aspect, however, that made watching the game in Kuwait different from watching it stateside, Gradishar said. He and the troops had to get up at 2:30 a.m. to catch the kickoff.
Gradishar said that he thought troop morale was very high. “They feel the support but they don’t let the media infiltrate their jobs,” he said.
Gradishar was part of a USO and Armed Forces Entertainment-sponsored trip that NFL alumni Ray Carolin organized. Ron Pritcher (Cincinnati and Houston ) Lyle Blackwood (Miami and Cincinnati) and Steve Preece (Rams) also made the trip.
Gradishar gave away 15 No. 53 Bronco jerseys, assorted Phil Long diesel hats and 15 bags of Twizzlers.
“The Twizzlers were a hit,” he said. “Something that was simply American.”
Gradishar said that the soldier, sailors, airmen and Marines were “proud, committed and disciplined,” and that their attitude was that “this is our job, this is what we do, we practice every day.”
Gradishar’s day job is corporate communications director for the Phil Long auto dealerships.
He and all the people that spent 14 hours flying to the Middle East in support of our troops should be commended.
Being deployed has to be tough. We have several military spouses working at CSBJ, and hearing what they go through and how many times they have been stationed at different places around the world makes me appreciate Gradishar’s trip even more.
Mayoral, council candidates to have a discussion
There are a lot of good things happening in our area, and I don’t need to tell you about all the good things that the El Pomar Foundation does for our community. But there is something the foundation does that perhaps some of you are unaware of — the Forum for Civic Advancement.
The forum’s mission is to support and engage “individuals interested in contributing to the civic health of the Pikes Peak Region by preparing those who serve, or those who would like to serve, in elected or appointed positions.”
So put March 7 on your calendar if you are interested in hearing our local politicos discuss some issues.
Now, I consider myself community-minded and, in fact, I am probably over-subscribed in some areas, but running for any office, especially for an office paying $6,250 a year, is not my cup of tea.
That being said, I commend those who do seek public office. I am not quite sure what motivates people to do this. The media attention and controversy would be enough for me not to want to run.
Anyway, the following candidates will all be at the Penrose House, 1661 Mesa Ave., at 5:30 p.m.: Tom Gallagher, Tom Harold, Bernie Herpin, Dave Martin, Jan Martin, Bob Null, Randy Purvis, Larry Small and Greg Timm.
To attend, RSVP to 577-7088 or firstname.lastname@example.org by March 5.
Let me know how the discussion goes, I think I have two other meetings that same night.
Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Lon.Matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5202.