It was more than a tad unusual, an Army general conducting the promotion ceremony for an Air Force captain. But it was a ceremony Jeremy Ludwig, who graduated from Durango High School in 2001, will never forget.
Apparently, Gen. David Petraeus, the four-star general who is the commander of Central Command, happened to be in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where Ludwig currently is deployed and agreed to do the honors.
Ludwig has been on a steady journey to his rank.
After graduating from DHS, he attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., graduating in 2005. He participated in the Air Force ROTC program there. As a newly commissioned second lieutenant after graduation, the young man did his basic flight training at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga., and advanced flight training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas.
Now stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, he pilots the Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System. Those are the cool planes you see in movies with all kinds of equipment such as radar and infrared sensors that guide fighter and bomber pilots.
Ludwig currently is on a four-month deployment in Abu Dhabi, which is the standard deployment for his specialty. His last tour was in Ecuador, where the mission was to track drug smugglers and gun runners. I'm not sure which task would be more dangerous.
Ludwig is the son of proud parents Dr. Gregg Ludwig and LouAnne Turner.
Congratulations, Capt. Ludwig, and safe flying.
Enjoying true summer weather after the solstice Sunday are Courtney Wolf, Jack Dignum, Dave Freeman, Cara Borland, Walter Dear, Suzanne Evans, Garrett Andrews, Aaron Cash, Sarah Elizabeth Griffith, June Hahl, Logan Cole, Ed Williams, Charlotte Wright, Annette Fusco, R.L. Hawks, John Hess, Wilma Cobb, Linda Buehler, Suzi Gottlieb, Linda Wyrick, Linda Moore, Neil Cheesewright, Laura Cartwright and Derrill Macho.
When my friend Cheryl Jackson opened her Spring 2009 edition of the Western History Association Newsletter, she was surprised to see a familiar face.
Duane Smith, professor of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College and the author of more than 40 books, wrote the centerpiece article about the mining history of Colorado. The association is holding its 49th annual conference in Denver in October and asked Smith to set the stage.
Starting with a quote from The New York Times from Sept. 20, 1858, Smith wrote about all the booms and busts in our state's history, from silver and gold to industrial minerals and uranium. Colorado may contain a treasure chest of minerals, but none of them have proven easy to mine, and few people truly struck it rich. Many thousands more lost everything.
Smith also quotes an old miner who said, "I never worked so hard in my life to get rich without working."
Apparently the association doesn't post the current edition of its newsletter online, so those who want to check it out will have to wait until the Fall 2009 issue comes out. So put a note in your tickler file to look it up then. The Web site address is really long, so the best way to look it up is to Google the Western History Association.
Bill Mashaw's death two weeks ago brought up a lot of memories for his many friends and acquaintances in La Plata County. Those twinkling eyes, his ability to match the right volunteer with the right organization and the knowledge that he was completely committed to making this a better place touched more people than he, or we, ever will know.
Marsha Porter-Norton, who calls Mashaw a wonderful mentor and friend, dropped me an e-mail to remind me that we have a great way to continue his work. When Mashaw and his wife, Dot, moved to Washington in 2006, a group of friends created the Bill Mashaw Non Profit Fund. It provides funding for preventive programs for youths, with an emphasis on younger children, and programs that integrate physical and mental health.
If you would like to remember Mashaw in a concrete way, tax-deductible contributions may be made to the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado and sent to the foundation, P.O. Box 1673, Durango, CO 81302. Write Bill Mashaw Non Profit Fund in the memo line.
Because I wrote his story obituary, I hadn't weighed in on Bill in Neighbors. But I agree with many people who told me that he made them, as individuals, better people. That's a light that will continue to shine here for decades to come.
I'm afraid I have allowed an exciting project to continue without much support from me, and that is about to stop.
The Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse is just one year away from opening. From the history of the 1893 building and its emphasis on looking toward the future with a score of interactive exhibits for all ages, it promises to be a jewel on the Animas riverfront and a major attraction for locals and tourists alike.
A dedicated group of volunteers has steadily been fundraising to make the museum a reality. Phase I, which was restoring the structure of the Powerhouse itself, is complete, at a cost of $1.1 million.
Phase II, which includes adding plumbing, electricity, heat and the indoor interactive exhibits, is estimated to cost $1.9 million. The campaign for that has reached about 75 percent of the total, with the goal of raising another $500,000, largely for the exhibits, to finish it and get the museum open for the summer of 2010. (Alpine Bank has offered a $100,000 loan at 2 percent for three years if the museum supporters can raise $30,000 for the exhibits, which will get them more than a quarter of the way to the goal.)Phases III and IV will include building expansions and the construction of the outdoor plaza.
On Friday, Lucia and Chuck Jenney hosted their third fundraising dinner for the campaign at their beautiful Rockwood home. Mother Nature apparently supports the project, as she served up weather for a perfect summer evening.
Called Chop! Chop!, the dinner featured Chinese cuisine with appetizers such as green-onion pie, shrimp dumplings, pot stickers and Chinese sausages. After a course of hot-and-sour soup, entrées included chicken velvet and lettuce wraps. The repast concluded with a floating-garden fruit dessert. That's if your garden includes lychee and refreshing almond gelatin.
Heidi Ochsner Mugler helped with the titular chopping.
Lucia Jenney said her husband has wondered if she should give up cooking, which is one of her passions. She told him she'd give up cooking if he'd give up golf. End of conversation!
The Jenneys' daughter Linda Jenney and her friend Steve Alvarez provided additional gracious hosting.
The evening had a purpose - to get going on the $30,000 matching funds for the loan for the exhibits. After Discovery Museum Executive Director Claire Bradshaw explained the offer, four guests stepped up and took the challenge, competing for a generous contribution by Glacier Club of a golf cart and round for two on its scenic course. It was the prize for the biggest donation of the evening.
Christina and Fritz Erteszek pledged $5,000, Dean and Nancy Furry pledged $3,000, and a donor who prefers to remain anonymous pledged another $3,000. Inventor Tony Hollar made an in-kind donation estimated at $10,000 plus to design, build and install a "mechanical/technical advantage" interactive exhibit.
Hollar and his wife, Linda, will be teeing off at Glacier Club someday soon.
The volunteers for the capital campaign have created a diverse set of giving circles to fit anyone's budget. And like the new Durango Public Library, this is one of those projects that is exciting for everyone to support.
If you're interested in learning more about donating, naming opportunities or getting involved, call development manager Annie Pollet at 828-1153 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrating their anniversaries with lemonade and picnics are Bob and Jayne Griffith, Roger and Marilyn Folk, Bill and Henri Morrow, Ed and Karen Trahan, Wesley and Pat May, Nancy and Derrill Macho, Mark and Merilee Fleming, Larry and Beverly Brown and Cory and Gretchen Foster.
For information on upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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