Richard Love directs the choir at Soldiers' Memorial Chapel,
Oct. 23, 2011 during a Protestant service. Love, a retired first
sergeant, served at Fort Carson and has been attending Soldiers'
Memorial Chapel for 30 years. Photo by Andrea Sutherland
FORT CARSON, Colo. (11/10/2011) -- President Woodrow Wilson in 1919
proclaimed Nov. 11 as Armistice Day, a day to remember the more than
4 million Americans who served in the trenches of Europe during
World War I and the 126,000 service members who lost their lives. In
1954, lawmakers designated Veterans Day as a time to honor American
veterans of all wars. This Veterans Day, Americans honor more than
21.8 million military veterans who have served their country, many
of whom continue to serve the nation in various ways. These are
three of their stories.
Religion has always been important to Richard
Love. As a child, Love followed his father on Sundays as the
preacher made rounds to churches near Memphis, Tenn.
would get on a train in the early morning, go to one church, get
back on the train and go to the next church,” Love said. “We
wouldn't get back until 10 at night.”
Growing up, Love worked
to help support his family.
“I went to work at 8 or 9,” he
said. “I picked and chopped cotton. I worked in a grocery store, in
a restaurant, as a delivery boy. ... When I was 9 years old, our house
burned down and we lived in a shed for two years.”
the military could offer a stable income and at 15, he began the
examination process to enter the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis,
“There weren't too many blacks getting into the academies,”
Love said. “You had to know a congressman.”
attended the three-day examination, which took place from 6
a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and required numerous cognitive and
He never found out if he passed.
During his senior year of high school, Love received an
offer from the Army to send him to college. He took it.
“I was 17,” he said. “My parents had to sign me in.”
Four years into his contract with the Army, Love's
mother received a letter from the Navy informing him that he
was AWOL since he had never reported for duty at Annapolis.
“I found out I had passed those tests five years after
I'd taken them,” he said, laughing. Love said that he chose
to remain in the Army, serving tours in Vietnam and Okinawa,
In 1976, Love arrived at Fort Carson where he
later retired as a first sergeant.
Love married his
fianc�e, at Soldiers' Memorial Chapel in 1984.
attended chapel here for 30 years,” said Love, who
volunteers as the choir director and Sunday School leader.
“There have been a lot of changes, but we enjoy the
Soldiers. I'm proud to have served my country.”
Soldiers, staff and even patients recognize Clara Huff when
they see the six-foot-tall American Red Cross volunteer.
“That's one of the things I enjoyed about the military.
You meet people and you continue to run into them over the
course of your career,” Huff said.
“I figure out how
I know them based on what they call me: Clara, Ms. Clara,
colonel, Col. Huff, Huff.”
For more than 40 years,
Huff has been caring for patients and supporting hospital
“I came into the Army in August of 1968
during the Vietnam War,” said Huff, a native of Belleville,
Ill. “The Army was short on nurses and they offered an Army
nursing college degree program at Walter Reed Army Medical
Center (in Washington, D.C.).”
Huff completed the
four-year program, working on installations in California,
Germany, Hawaii and Texas. The job required Huff to perform
tasks outside her training.
“You were the only nurse
on duty so you learned a lot,” she said. “I did a lot of
things that in the current standards for hospitals I'd never
be able to do because I wouldn't have the credentials. But
back in the 70s and 80s, they needed people, so if you had
those skills, they utilized them.”
Huff said she
worked in neonatal intensive care and intensive care units
as well as delivery and emergency rooms.
that's part of why I stayed in,” she said. “The Army gave me
a lot of new experiences. ... I never got bored.”
attended the Army-Baylor Graduate Program, earning her
master's in health and business administration, completing
her residency in the old hospital complex at Fort Carson.
Because of her medical and administrative training, Huff
worked as a liaison for several installations, communicating
the needs of hospital staff to administration officials.
After being promoted to colonel, Huff's duties included
assessing the training and staffing at every military
hospital as well as overseeing the management division and
finance and accounting departments.
She retired to
Colorado Springs in 2002 after more than 30 years of
“I love to ski and I like the cold weather,”
A couple of years into her retirement,
Huff said she received a letter from U.S. Army Medical
Command asking her to return to work. Huff decided to
volunteer with the American Red Cross at Fort Carson, using
her years of knowledge to support the Soldiers and staff at
Evans Army Community Hospital.
“My focus has always
been ... to help the nurses and the docs and the people who
take care of patients, the resources they need to be able to
do their jobs,” she said. “Even though I don't do hands-on
patient care ... I can still provide assistance.”
more than seven years of volunteering with the Red Cross,
Huff said she'll continue to volunteer as long as she's
“I feel at home on a military base,” she
said. “I'm proud having been in the military. My closest
friends are ... from my military days.”
Knickknacks and souvenirs from Germany, Holland and Belgium
line the walls of Richard Pike's living room and kitchen, a
testimony to the places he's lived and traveled in his
21-year Army and 23-year government service careers.
“We've been all over,” Pike said, listing numerous
installations in Europe and the United States.
originally from Nebraska, was brought to Father Flanagan's
Boys' Home when he was 8 years old. After 10 years in the
orphanage, Pike enlisted in the Army in 1959, completing
basic training with the 9th Infantry Division at Fort
“My memories of Fort Carson — I picked up a
lot of rocks, especially on Sunday mornings,” he said. “A
Greyhound bus dropped us off at the edge of town, which was
Platte (Avenue) and Circle (Drive). They were dirt roads.”
Pike said throughout his eight-week basic training,
Cheyenne Mountain and Pikes Peak tempted him.
didn't get up there until last year,” he said.
basic training, Pike said he auditioned for the 1st Infantry
Band as a French horn player.
“I split my lower lip
on the rear side of an M1 rifle during basic, I lost all my
musical talent,” he said, laughing. “In other words, I did
not pass the audition. So they sent me to Fort Knox, Ky.,
for clerical school.”
Pike spent the next 20 years as
an Army clerk, deploying to Vietnam and rotating duty
stations throughout the United States and Europe.
retired from the Army in 1980, working in government service
positions in several countries including England, Germany
and the U.S., until 2003.
He returned to Colorado
Springs in 2008, along with his wife, Martha Pike.
“We kept visiting here. We like the weather and the
mountains,” he said.
Although he's been retired for
eight years, Richard Pike continues to support fellow
soldiers and veterans through the Knights of Columbus, a
fraternal, Catholic organization dedicated to charitable
causes. A fourth-degree knight and Colorado state
coordinator for veterans volunteer services, Richard Pike
helps place volunteers in Veterans Affairs hospitals and
clinics throughout Colorado.
Richard Pike said he is
also an avid metal detectorist, gold prospector and fly
“I just applied for a job as a background
investigator,” the 70-year-old said. “I got to keep in
This Veterans Day, the Pikes said they would
enjoy the parades and perks around Colorado Springs.
“We appreciate all the businesses giving military
discounts,” Richard Pike said. “We support the community and
we work hand in hand.”
Martha Pike said watching the
community honor her husband and other veterans made her feel
“I'm proud of him,” she said.
nothing special,” Richard Pike said. “I'm just another
More photos available in frame below
By Andrea Sutherland
Fort Carson Public Affairs
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