Fort Bliss helps Rio Norte Retirement Community honor WWII veteran
DoMaD Public Affairs:
For two years, the staff of the Rio Norte Retirement Community has been honoring Veterans with the American Eagle Service Award. The Rio Norte manager, Brian Callerane, presented World War II veteran retired Lt. Col. Benjamin Feldmeir with the American Eagle Service Award July 7. In a large dining room, elaborately decorated in our nation’s colors, with flags of each branch of service hung from the ceiling, a pianist and a color guard team, the Rio Norte team honored a humble and deserving individual.
The Rio Norte Retirement Community is an independent living facility for El Paso’s senior citizens, located on the east side of town. More like a resort, they offer programs, activities and dining and have live-in managers who work to ensure a high quality of life and comfort of their residents. A large number of the community’s guests are veterans and the staff at Rio Norte goes above and beyond to recognize the sacrifices made by the men and women they now serve. This was proven with this ceremony in particular. For past events, color guard teams were coordinated through one of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters. Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen turn of events, a color guard team was not available and the Rio Norte staff scrambled to find a replacement. Through community relations and connections, the color guard team from the Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment Headquarters and Headquarters Company was requested.
Led by Staff Sgt. Leon Hawkins and accompanied by the HHC commander, Maj. Dan Gray, the Soldiers spent their Saturday morning paying tribute to Feldmeir. Callerane and the rest of the Rio Norte team were grateful that DoMaD’s team stepped up.
“Ben loved it,” said Callerane. “He doesn’t show much emotion, but he came to me after and told me.”
Feldmeir joined the Army in 1942 as a Signal Corps officer. He deployed to England later that year in preparation for the invasion of Europe. Tasked to provide early aircraft warning to Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army, he was sent to Omaha Beach. He served his four years, returned to the U.S. and was placed on reserve status. In 1950 he was recalled to active duty and assigned to the Air Defense Command. Feldmeir retired from Fort Bliss in 1969 after 27 years of service, and has been an El Paso resident ever since.
Saturday’s ceremony began with the posting of the colors by DoMaD HHC color guard. Greg Booker gave the benediction and also provided music by softly playing patriotic songs on a grand piano. During the presentation of the award, Callerane described the reasoning behind the event.
“The bald eagle was chosen … as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks. The eagle represents freedom,” he said. “Today we present the American Eagle award, which represents someone who embodies the ideals of the American eagle. This award goes to someone who has had a long and illustrious military career, followed by a life of service and dedication to the principles of freedom. This person, today, is Ben Feldmeir.”
Information about the Rio Norte Retirement Community or the American Eagle Service Award can be found at www.holidaytouch.com/Our-Communities/rio-norte.aspx.
Additional event pictures can be found on the Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment Facebook page at www.facebook.com/#!/domadpao.
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